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Community Profile /  Town of Amherst HAZNY

Town of Amherst Hazard Analysis

HAZNY is an automated, interactive spreadsheet that asks specific questions on potential hazards in a community and records and evaluates the responses to these questions. HAZNY also includes historical and expert data on selected hazards.

Town of Amherst HAZNY


The participants in the Town of Amherst HAZNY workshop were from various organizations representing a wide variety of county, federal and municipal government, private business, public utilities, academic institutions, private and public health care and non-government organizations (sign-in sheet available upon request). There are several factors utilized by the HAZNY program in determining hazard vulnerability. The first factor is scope. This factor looks at two aspects of scope: (1) What area or areas in each jurisdiction could be impacted by the hazard and (2) what are the chances of the hazard triggering another hazard causing a cascade effect? When assessing impact, participants are asked to assume a credible worst case hazard event. The choices are: a single location, several individual locations, throughout a small region or throughout a large region. When assessing cascade effects, participants were again asked to assume a credible worst case hazard event. The choices are: no, highly unlikely, yes, some potential and yes, highly likely. The second factor was frequency. In this program frequency is a prediction of how often a hazard will occur in the future. In this instance, the program is not looking for the frequency of the credible worst case event, but occurrences that require activation of the jurisdiction’s emergency response forces beyond normal day-to-day operations, including mutual aid plans. The frequency choices are: a rare event (less than once every 50 years), an infrequent event (between once every 8 years and once every 50 years, inclusive), a regular event (occurs between once a year and once every 7 years, inclusive) and a frequent event (occurs more than once a year). History is a good indicator of future events and was reviewed when making selections. We also reviewed past hazard reports, media reports and articles and specialized reports such as a completion of severe weather events authorized by the National Weather Service. Town historians and senior citizens also provided input. The next factor is impact. As with the other factors, it is based on a credible worst case event. The analysis looks individually at people, private property and public facilities (infrastructure). Impact on people is concerned with the hazard’s ability to seriously injure or kill people. A serious injury is defined as an injury that requires the victim to received immediate medical attention to preserve life and/or limb. The categories allow each jurisdiction to define “large numbers” as appropriate to their response capacity. The categories are as follows: Serious injury or death is likely, but not in large numbers Serious injury or death is likely in large numbers (local EMS is “maxed out”) Serious injury or death is likely in extremely large numbers (substantial outside assistance is required) Impact on private property looks at physical or economic damage to private property including structures, homes, businesses, belongings and income. The choices include little or no damage, moderate damage and severe damages. The damage incurred from a disaster is quantified on a “macro level”. Damage to the community infrastructure is concerned specifically with structural damage, including key government buildings, roads, bridges, sewer and water and power lines. The choices include little or no structural damage, moderate structural damage and severe structural damage. Once again, the damage incurred is quantified on a “macro level”. Factor four is onset. This factor is an inquiry into warning time. It poses the question: “How much time is there between the initial recognition of an approaching hazard and when the hazard begins to impact the community?” For the time of onset analysis, a credible worst case scenario is the basis. The choices are: no warning, several hours warning, several hours warning, one day warning, up to one week warning. Factor five is duration. Two questions are addressed in this section: (1) how long does the hazard remain active and (2) how long do emergency operations continue? Again, both answers are based on a credible worst case scenario. Hazard duration measures only the actual time the hazard is active. The choices are: less than one day, one day, two to three days, four days to a week and more than one week. Long term impacts are measured in incident stabilization time. This is measured by determining how long emergency operations for the jurisdiction continue once the hazard is inactive. The hazard is considered stabilized when the emergency operations return to normal. Long term clean-up efforts and environmental remediation do not count as part of the incident stabilization time. Disaster coordinators were encouraged to include clean up and remediation when planning for potential future events.

About Amherst

The Town of Amherst was established in 1818 and celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 2018. The town has a geographical area of 53.6 square miles and a population of greater than 122,000.

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