In the previous section we learned about how critical infrastructure supported the basic societal functions that every community provides to its citizens and examined how dependencies could impact those systems. This section suggests how dependency considerations and resilience concepts can be incorporated into planning at the local and regional level reducing consequences and speeding recovery from hazard events.
Infrastructure is the backbone of communities, regions, and the nation, providing not only critical services, but also the means for economic growth and the delivery of key products and services. Given their vital significance, it is important to ensure that infrastructure systems are resilient.
What does it mean to be resilient?
Get ready by planning, acquiring knowledge, and conducting training and exercises
Adjust to new conditions, make suitable for changing circumstances
Remain unaffected by
Return to normal
Resilience is the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents. [Presidential Policy Directive 21]
Hazards to Consider
Hazards that could cause disruptions generally fall into three categories:
• Natural hazards such as storms, earthquakes, and wildfires
• Technological hazards usually caused by an accident such as chemical spills, facility fires, or vehicle or vessel collisions
• Human-caused hazards, including terrorist attacks, war, sabotage, cyber threats, climate change, or criminal activity
Changing conditions can also impact the resilience of a community and its infrastructure systems. Examples of these risks include:
• Economic downturn
• Population increase or decrease
• New regulations
• New technology
• Entity revenue fluctuations affecting maintenance of systems
• Social inequities
These hazards and changing conditions can have short-term impacts like injuries and loss of life, property damage, and degraded quality of life as well as long-term impacts such as business closures, population loss, and reduced tax base.