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
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. Please note, the Community Hazard Handbook was updated in 2021.
- Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment (HIRA) – An in-depth resource for understanding hazards and hazard risk in Howard County. Please note, the HIRA was updated in 2020.
Hazards in Howard County
Howard County's risk assessment includes 23 distinct hazard types.
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 2019 and 2020, as such, it does not include references or data pertaining to incidents and events that have occurred since that time.
* Please note, the scores for the various hazards were submitted by our subject matter experts in August 2019. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest spanning from March 2020 to present at the time of its publishing (July 2020), subject matter experts were asked to incorporate additional feedback or update scores if applicable. These updates were incorporated into the 2019 version. The HIRA will be updated annually for these scores in order to provide the most accurate data for Howard County.
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