Human-Made Hazards

To learn more about the human-made hazards profile in the 2018 State HMP Update, click on each hazard below.

[reveal heading="%image% Building or Structure Collapse" id="id1"]

Add description.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Civil Disturbance" id="id2"]

Civil disturbance hazards encompass a set of hazards emanating from a wide range of possible events that cause civil disorder, confusion, strife, and economic hardship. Civil disturbance hazards include the following:

  • Famine; involving a widespread scarcity of food leading to malnutrition and increased mortality.
  • Economic Collapse, Recession; Very slow or negative growth, for example.
  • Misinformation; erroneous information spread unintentionally.
  • Civil Disturbance, Public Unrest, Mass Hysteria, Riot; group acts of violence against property and individuals, for example.
  • Strike, Labor Dispute: controversies related to the terms and conditions of employment, for example. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Dam Failure" id="id3"]

A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs, or slows down water flow. Dams provide benefits such as flood protection, power generation, drinking water, irrigation, and recreation. Failure of these structures results in an uncontrolled release of impounded water. Failures are relatively rare, but immense damage and loss of life is possible in downstream communities when such events occur. Aging infrastructure, hydrologic, hydraulic and geologic characteristics, population growth, and design and maintenance practices should be considered when assessing dam failure hazards. The failure of the South Fork Dam, located in Johnstown, PA, was the deadliest dam failure ever experienced in the United States. It took place in 1889 and resulted in the Johnstown Flood which claimed 2,209 lives according to FEMA. Today, the PADEP estimates that there are approximately 3,200 dams and reservoirs throughout Pennsylvania. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Disorientation" id="id4"]

Add description.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Drowning" id="id5"]

Add description.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Environmental Hazards" id="id6"]

Environmental hazards are hazards that pose threats to the natural environment, the built environment, and public safety through the diffusion of harmful substances, materials, or products. For the purposes of the 2018 State Hazard Mitigation Plan, environmental hazards include the following:

  • Hazardous material releases at fixed facilities or in transit; including toxic chemicals, infectious substances, biohazardous waste, and any materials that are explosive, corrosive, flammable, or radioactive.
  • Coal mining incidents; including the release of the release of harmful chemical and waste materials into water bodies or the atmosphere, explosions, fires, and other hazards and threats to life safety stemming from mining.
  • Oil and gas well incidents; including the release of the release of harmful chemical and waste materials into water bodies or the atmosphere, explosions, fires, and other other hazards and threats to life safety stemming from oil and gas extraction.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Levee Failure" id="id7"]

According to the Interagency Levee Policy Review Committee, a levee is defined as a human-made structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control, or divert the flow of water so as to provide protection from temporary flooding.  Levee failures or breaches occur when a levee fails to contain the floodwaters for which it is designed to control or floodwaters exceed the height of the constructed levee. 51 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have been identified as having at least one levee according to FEMA Region III.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Mass Food/Animal Feed Contamination" id="id8"]

Mass food or animal feed contamination hazards occur when food or food sources are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites, as well as chemical or natural toxins. They may lead to foodborne illnesses and/or interruptions in the food supply. Contamination may occur due to natural foodborne illnesses and chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most foodborne illnesses are caused by Campylobacter in poultry, E. Coli in beef, leafy greens, and raw milk, Listeria in deli meats, unpasteurized soft cheeses, and produce, Salmonella in eggs, poultry, meat, and produce, Vibrio in raw oysters, Norovirus in many foods, and Toxoplasma in meats. Contamination usually occurs accidentally during the production/preparation process but can also be the result of intentional acts.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Nuclear Incident" id="id9"]

Nuclear incidents generally refer to events involving the release of significant levels of radioactivity or exposure of workers or the general public to radiation.  According to FEMA, nuclear accidents/incidents can be placed into three categories: 

  1. Criticality accidents which involve loss of control of nuclear assemblies or power reactors.
  2. Loss-of-coolant accidents which result whenever a reactor coolant system experiences a break or opening large enough so that the coolant inventory in the system cannot be maintained by the normally operating make-up system.
  3. Loss-of-containment accidents which involve the release of radioactivity.  The primary concern following such an incident or accident is the extent of radiation, inhalation, and ingestion of radioactive isotopes which can cause acute health effects (e.g. death, burns, severe impairment), chronic health effects (e.g. cancer), and psychological effects. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Terrorism" id="id10"]

Terrorism is use of force or violence against persons or property with the intent to intimidate or coerce. According to FEMA, acts of terrorism include threats of terrorism; assassinations; kidnappings; hijackings; bomb scares and bombings; cyber-attacks (computer-based); and the use of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons. Increasingly, cyber-attacks have become a more pressing concern for governments across America. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Transportation Accident" id="id11"]

Transportation accidents can result from any form of air, rail, water, or road travel. It is unlikely that small accidents would significantly impact the larger community. However, certain accidents could have secondary regional impacts such as a hazardous materials release or disruption in critical supply/access routes, especially if vital transportation corridors or junctions are present. Traffic congestion in certain circumstances can also be hazardous. Traffic congestion is a condition that occurs when traffic demand approaches or exceeds the available capacity of the road network. This hazard should be carefully evaluated during emergency planning since it is a key factor in timely disaster or hazard response, especially in areas with high population density. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Urban Fire and Explosion" id="id12"]

An urban fire involves a structure or property within an urban or developed area. For hazard mitigation purposes, major urban fires involving large buildings and/or multiple properties are of primary concern.  The effects of a major urban fire include minor to significant property damage, loss of life, and residential or business displacement. Explosions are extremely rapid releases of energy that usually generate high temperatures and often lead to fires. The risk of severe explosions can be reduced through careful management of flammable and explosive hazardous materials. [/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% Utility Interruption" id="id13"]

Utility interruption hazards are hazards that impair the functioning of important utilities in the energy, telecommunications, public works, and information network sectors. Utility interruption hazards include the following:

  • Geomagnetic Storms; including temporary disturbances of the Earth’s magnetic field resulting in disruptions of communication, navigation, and satellite systems.
  • Fuel or Resource Shortage; resulting from supply chain breaks or secondary to other hazard events, for example.
  • Electromagnetic Pulse; originating from an explosion or fluctuating magnetic field and causing damaging current surges in electrical and electronic systems.
  • Information Technology Failure; due to software bugs, viruses, or improper use.
  • Ancillary Support Equipment; electrical generating, transmission, system-control, and distribution-system equipment for the energy industry.
  • Public Works Failure; damage to or failure of highways, flood control systems, deepwater ports and harbors, public buildings, bridges, dams, for example.
  • Telecommunications System Failure; Damage to data transfer, communications, and processing equipment, for example.
  • Transmission Facility or Linear Utility Accident; liquefied natural gas leakages, explosions, facility problems, for example.
  • Major Energy, Power, Utility Failure; interruptions of generation and distribution, power outages, for example.

Internet interruptions and internet failures are an increasingly important kind of utility interruption as more of the day-to-day business of the Commonwealth is conducted over the internet.[/reveal]

[reveal heading="%image% War and Criminal Activity" id="id14"]

*New for the 2018 HMP Update.

Add description. [/reveal]