Developing a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment

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Building your emergency plan can be a bit overwhelming and many ask, ‘Where do I start?’ A Hazard Vulnerability Assessment is a great place to start your emergency plans. We have broken down a few ideas to help you start with a HVA guide in order to improve your emergency operations plan for your facility.

Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Meeting

Defining Your Objectives

You’ll want to define your objective. What are the main goals which your organization wants to accomplish with their emergency plan? These goals will help drive you to put steps, plans, supplies, tools and technology into place to build your emergency plan in order to save lives during any crisis.

Now we can queue up the question, “How do I create SMART objectives?” Remember that SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. To create SMART goals, you’ll want to perform a needs assessment. A great and easy way to accomplish this needs assessment for your Emergency Management Plan is through a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment.

Introducing the Hazard Vulnerability Assessment

A Hazard Vulnerability Assessment allows your team to evaluate your facility, community and organization. The Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) is a rational, systematic and methodical approach to recognizing hazards, your vulnerability to those hazards and the impact those hazards could have on your organization; physically, emotionally and financially.

A Hazard Vulnerability Assessment is also known as a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis, Risk Vulnerability Assessment or Risk Vulnerability Analysis. Whatever you would like to call it, even if you create your own unique title, the basic function is still the same, to assess my organization’s vulnerability in a number of different emergency situations.

Objectives of an HVA

Your HVA helps in your needs assessment, allowing your team to identify the greatest vulnerabilities and prioritize your objectives. The HVA breaks down a number of different potential hazards into different categories, allowing you to score your facility or organization for each hazard. The HVA measures the magnitude of the hazard and how prepared you are for that type of disaster. These measurements will help your organization prioritize your emergency preparations.

When utilizing HVA, engage with key personnel from your organization. We also recommend working with local law enforcement and emergency responders on a number of these items to help assess your facility, organization and surrounding area.

Benchmarking at the beginning, and then reevaluating after implementation of your emergency plan will help your organization reduce your vulnerability to hazards, show improvement and create new goals to maintain a safer environment during a crisis situation.

Employing the HVA

Now it’s time to use the Hazard Vulnerability Assessment to create safety goals, build your emergency plan and improve on any challenges you face at your location. Here are a few steps to get you started with the HVA.

  1. Download our HVA guide below, find another or build your own.
  2. Identify key personnel from your organization and local first responders.
  3. Set a meeting, inviting all key contributors. Set the date, time and objectives of this meeting so everyone will come prepared.
  4. Invite everyone to fill out the HVA (to the best of their ability) on their own before the meeting begins. This will allow for greater discussion.
  5. Meet and discuss hazards and vulnerability at your facility. Start with generalizations and then open for each person to say why they gave each section the score they did.
  6. Move from section to section, and as a team, give each section a score before moving on to the next section. This may take some time, so plan accordingly and a catered lunch is always a good incentive! 😉
  7. Schedule another meeting in order to create action items to improve your facility and organization and save lives.

We have developed a HVA guide*, allowing you to get started on your emergency preparedness plan and program. Download it today!

Download HVA Guide

*Please note that this HVA guide is not a comprehensive emergency response or emergency preparedness program. For more information on our emergency preparedness software, please see Rapid Responder.

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