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Hazards, risk and vulnerabilities are terms used in emergency management that are known to cause disaster any time. In normal circumstances, property, people and information assets are usually involved (Dragani, 2017). People assets, in this case, include customers, employees or invited people like guests or contractors. Property assets include intangible and tangible items, as well as information assets, such as software, database, and company intangible items (Dragani, 2017). This essay will discuss the difference between risks, hazards and vulnerabilities as well as their relationship in disaster.
The risk is the possibility of an activity or action that may result in an undesired outcome. Risks sometimes lead to losses, payoffs or even gains (Smith, 2013). It is also the hazardous exposure or dangerous chance that may cause injury or damage. The type of loss, in this case, may involve a person or item such as fire, earthquake or marine disaster. Vulnerability is a weak spot that gives way to exploitation. It can also be described as the flaw that makes something or someone susceptible to either a loss or an attack or even an undesired outcome (Smith, 2013). Vulnerability may also be a situation where one is susceptible of being hurt or wounded by a weapon or moral attack. Vulnerability is also the gap or weakness in a security program that when illegally exploited, can cause threats to access of the company assets without authorization (Gragani, 2017).
Hazard is the risk that has the ability to overwhelm the environment, people and property. It’s a condition that if not carefully monitored can turn into a catastrophe but based on the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors (Bryant, 2010). A hazard is also a potentially damaging social, physical event, environmental or disruption degradation. Good examples could be the abundance of rain which leads to floods, lack of rains leading to drought, or chemicals that are released near incorrect agricultural techniques or near settlements which cause disasters.
The relationship of the three components is seen through the risk assessment formula. Based on the fact that assets are involved in the three parts then Assets + Threat + Vulnerability + Hazard = Risk. For instance, the risk is the potential or function of threats that exploit the vulnerabilities to destroy or damage assets (Dragani, 2017). Therefore since the threats (inherent, actual, or conceptual) may be in existence, if vulnerabilities do not exist, then there will either be no risk or the situation may not be hazardous. Consequently, if vulnerability exists, and there are no risks, then there are no hazards. However, when there is a weak spot (weakness), that is susceptible or prone to an undesired outcome, and there is no action or activity (risk) that may have the hazardous exposure or dangerous chance of leading to the undesired result, then there will be no hazards. This is because dangers are potentials of damaging the social, physical event and economic environment or disruption degradation which are vulnerable enough to cause risks (Dragani, 2017).
Risks, Vulnerabilities, and Hazards are components that depend on each other for a disaster to take place. Risk is the possibility of an activity or action that may result in an undesired outcome while vulnerability is a weak spot that gives way for exploitation, and hazard is a condition that existed which if not carefully monitored can turn into a catastrophe. When Risk comes together with a weak spot and the danger is not observed, then the three are known to be good in causing disasters.
Bryant, E. (2010). Identifying Hazards. Monitoring for Hazards, 13-17. doi:10.1002/9781444323313.ch2
Dragani, N., & Cole, V. L. (2017). Where Emergency Management and Disaster Behavioral Health Meet. Integrating Emergency Management and Disaster Behavioral Health, 3-24. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-803638-9.00001-x
Smith, R. (2013). Managing risks. Risk Management in Regulatory Frameworks, 3-22. doi:10.18356/ce6146ee-en
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