Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Planning for extreme events by understanding risk


Terrorist attacks like those on Sept. 11, large-scale industrial accidents like Three Mile Island, hurricanes like Andrew, or earthquakes like the one in Northridge, Calif., that killed 60 people--these are all what economists call low probability, high consequence events. Making economic decisions about how to prepare for such "extreme events" is a difficult process. Under what circumstances are the benefits of strengthening a building against explosions or earthquakes worth the costs? A new study sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers strategies for finding answers to such questions.

Conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the study* found that preparing for extreme events requires an understanding of risk "interdependencies." A security plan, for example, is only as strong as its weakest link. It also requires cooperation between public and private organizations because individuals and organizations often don’t take actions to mitigate low probability risks unless there are incentives to do so.

Ultimately, the study authors concluded that dealing effectively with extreme events depends on a complex interplay between risk assessment, perception and management. Risk assessment for a power grid in Ohio needs to include possible negative effects from domino-like failures throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. People perceive risk more clearly when they understand its cumulative effects. More people will wear seatbelts, for instance, if told they have a 33 percent chance of an accident over a 50-year lifetime of driving than if they know there is 0.00001 percent chance for each trip. And risk management is more likely if the economics are attractive. A $1,500 loan to prevent flood damage is more affordable if payments are divided over the life of a 20-year mortgage and if insurance premiums drop as a result of the improvements.

John Blair | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>