Hazard Information

Understanding Hazards in Howard County

Preparedness begins with understanding your local hazards. A hazard is any potential source of harm or difficulty and may be natural or manmade. High-risk hazards have a high likelihood of local occurrence and may result in serious consequences to life safety, property, critical infrastructure, the environment, and the economy.

Risk = Likelihood + Consequence

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Hazard Resources

For detailed information on hazard risk in Howard County, the following resources provide detailed information on hazard risk in Howard County:

  • Community Hazard Handbook – An overview of local hazards and hazard risk designed for families and businesses in Howard County.  This handbook was updated in 2023.

Hazards in Howard County

Howard County's risk assessment includes 25 distinct hazard types. 

 Human-Caused Hazards      Natural Hazards
 Active Assailant     Drought
 Biological Hazard     Earthquake
 Chemical Hazard      Extreme Temperature 
 Civil Unrest    Flood
 Cyber Hazard    Hurricane/Tropical Cyclone
 Dam Failure     Lightning
 Emerging/Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases     Pest Infestation/Zoonotic Infection
 Explosives Hazard    Severe Winter Weather
 Nuclear Blast     Solar Storm
 Opioids Hazard    Tornado/Windstorm
 Radiological Hazard     Wildfire
 Structure Fire    
 Transportation Hazard     
 Utility Disruption Hazard     


HIRA Updates

The Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) is a comprehensive analysis of manmade and natural hazards which could impact Howard County, Maryland. The initial HIRA was developed between the years 2014 and 2015 to serve as a foundational document for emergency preparedness planning efforts within Howard County. Development of the HIRA was led by the Howard County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The HIRA reflects a whole-community approach to risk assessment involving local government stakeholders, private-sector partners, and private citizens.  The updated HIRA was researched and developed between 2022 and early 2023, as such, it does not include references or data pertaining to incidents and events that have occurred since that time.

Prepare Yourself

Understanding your hazard risk is only the first step toward building a resilient community. Learn more about how you can protect your home or business from the consequences of a disaster at the following locations:

ReadyHoCo - Howard County Office of Emergency Management 

Ready.gov – Dept. of Homeland Security

Emergency.cdc.gov – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

https://www.weather.gov/safety/ – National Weather Service

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