Mitigation Strategies and Threats
Mitigation strategies are employed to make situations where damage has occurred less severe. More so, they are meant to safeguard dangerous situations by eliminating potential threats. There are multiple strategies that can be applied to different levels of disasters. For instance, decontaminating and inerting can be applied to scenarios where a building has been damaged beyond repair. The paper describes various types of mitigation that can be used on different levels of facility contamination. More so, threats that can impact loss will be explained.
Mitigation on devastating damage
Devastating destruction is when structures have been damaged beyond repair. This is the most dangerous damage as fatalities are often 100 percent. Decontamination would be the most effective strategy to alleviate harm in devastating scenarios. It involves cleansing the affected area and removing hazardous materials which may spread and cause more damage to the surrounding environments. Whenever there is a disaster, contaminants such as biological, chemical, radiation and explosive elements might be present in the scene. If these substances are not removed, they might spread, causing more fires and explosions. In the event of a facility that has been harmed beyond habitual use, cleansing by removing potentially harmful substances can prevent the adjacent building and environments from being harmed. Nevertheless, care should be taken when choosing the decontaminating agents. For instance, using water to cleanse chemical hazards can generate dangerous reactions which might physically harm the persons attending to the situation. Briefly, removal of dangerous elements from a structure that has been totally destroyed would make the situation less harmful as it would prevent them from dispersing to the surrounding areas.
Mitigation on severe damage
Typically, a structure is said to be severely destroyed when it has been partially contaminated. Most buildings remain intact even though some items within the facility might have been damaged beyond repair. In this case, the most effective mitigation strategy would be a suppression system. It involves injecting suppression agents such as water, powders, or salt solutions to the affected area. The mechanism prevents the effects generated by the hazardous materials from extending to the unaffected parts of a structure. For instance, extinguishing a fire on the damaged part prevents it from burning regions of the building that are still unharmed. However, for a suppression system to be successful, it must be applied as soon as possible. A delay in suppressing the fire, explosion, or generally, the threat can cause the hazards to spread quickly to the stable region of the facility. However, one should consider the toxicity of the suppressant as it could be dangerous to the personnel responding to the disaster.
Mitigation on noticeable damage
Since few assets have been destroyed and a large part of the structure is not harmed, it means that the threat of more damage is minimal. As such, a medium-level mitigation strategy should be employed. The most appropriate measure to contain the damage is to mitigate the vulnerabilities or weak points. They could be leaked water or gas pipes, exposed electric wires, or even broken doors and windows, just to mention a few. The vulnerabilities might expose the building to more damage if they are not corrected. For instance, leaking gas pipes might cause air contamination or fire if they come into contact with heated substances. The essence of amending the weak points of a building with noticeable damage is to prevent any potential threats that might cause more harm.
Mitigation of minor damage
Since no significant loss of assets is experienced with this type of damage, the most applicable mitigation strategy is to carry out a risk assessment. Typically, threat and risk assessment facilitate the identification of the origin of the danger, and the possible risks as well as the areas that are highly vulnerable to attack. Most importantly it aides the evaluation of the existing risk mitigation measures and the development of new danger prevention strategies if necessary.
Vulnerability assessment in the context of threats that can impact a loss
The presence of chemical substances exposes a structure to a wide range of hazards that can cause loss. Typically, chemicals possess multiple characteristics that make them more harmful. For instance, most acids and bases have a corrosive effect. Others are flammable and can produce toxic smoke or cause thermal burns. Moreover, multiple chemicals react when they come into contact with other substances and can easily cause a fire, generate explosive gasses, or even explode. Generally, most chemicals can cause many types of hazards. The threat of chemicals should be taken seriously as it can cause significant damage to property or widespread loss of lives (Noll, 2014). For instance, explosions that occur as a result of chemical reactions might lead to the collapse of a multi-story building. As such, it would be appropriate to infer that chemicals might be associated with moderate, high, or very high vulnerabilities.
Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are the most common biological agents that can impact loss. Typically, bacteria are single-celled organisms and cause health-related threats. There are multiple types of bacteria which cause infections by releasing harmful chemicals in the body. Bacteria and virus are the most used when it comes to creating biological weapons since they can generate diseases (Noll, 2014). Agents such as Ebola Virus, Bacillus Anthracis, and Marburg Virus are some of the most popular biological agents that can be used to attack a population, animals, or plants. Biological weapons may also impact loss by making people to evacuate areas where they have been unleashed. For instance, people can move away from an area known to have Ebola. The vulnerability associated with biological attacks is often very high since the targeted areas are usually high profile and the countermeasures are usually inadequate.
Radiation and nuclear hazards
Radiation and nuclear damage occur as a result of the energy released from nuclei atoms in nuclear weapons, radiation devices, and nuclear power plants. The energy released when there is a nuclear explosion is usually very high. It may surpass that of a conventional explosion by one million kilotons. As for radiation, it can be classified into alpha, beta, gamma, and x-rays as well as neutrons. The level of harm in a nuclear attack can vary depending on the distance from the explosive, the time of exposure, and the shielding available (Noll, 2014). Most nuclear explosion incidents cause significant damage to property. Buildings and infrastructure might be destroyed beyond repair. Moreover, such attacks are considered deadly as they often lead to multiple deaths and injuries. In many cases, radiation and nuclear hazards are mainly associated with a very high level of vulnerability.
Noll, G. G., Hildebrand, M. S., Schnepp, R., & Rudner, G. D. (2014). Hazardous materials: Managing the incident. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.