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Threat and Hazard Identification

Every community has an obligation to understand the risks it faces from man-made, natural and technological threats and hazards.Beginning in 2012, the Kansas City region underwent a Threat and Hazard Risk Identification and Assessment (THIRA) process to identify the risks faced in the region and understand, qualify and quantify the potential community impacts from these risks. The THIRA is updated annually in December.

THIRA tornado scenario map
THIRA TORNADO SCENARIO: An EF5 tornado strikes the bistate urban core and central business district in Kansas City at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday, leaving a destruction path that is one mile wide and 14 miles long. Two counties and five municipalities are impacted.
Local officials and subject matter experts examined ten possible threats and hazards that could affect the Kansas City region. They developed hypothetical scenarios for each hazard, overlaying the scenario boundaries with community demographics, building stock inventories, financial information and other data in order to model likely community impacts. From there, officials set “capability preparedness targets” which establish desired outcomes to prevent threats from occurring; protect the population should a threat/hazard materialize into an emergency; respond to meet life-safety needs following an emergency; recover from an emergency and return to normalcy; and mitigate future threats/hazards.

The ten threats and hazards examined were:

  • Tornado
  • Severe winter weather
  • Hazmat release
  • IED/armed terrorist attack
  • Cybersecurity attack
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Anthrax-based terrorist attack
  • Terrorist attack in the port area
  • Terrorist threat again transportation sector
  • Active shooter incident at a school

By understanding risks and probable resulting impacts, elected officials are able to make informed decisions about how to manage risk and develop needed capabilities. The THIRA is being used as a tool to aid in ascertaining regional gaps in “whole community” planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise.

Contact Justin Sorg for more information»