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City of Flagstaff Resiliency and Preparedness Study

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The City of Flagstaff, Arizona completed a study that assesses the level of vulnerability, the degree of risk and the potential impacts of 115 of the City’s critical operations that are already impacted by weather. Conducted by a team of City staff and regional partners (the "Core Team"), the study recommends an overarching policy aimed to increase protection and resilience within municipal operations to hazards - including fire, severe winter storms, drought, floods, and more.

Seven primary city systems were identified as 'at risk' from climate variability and directly connected specifically to city services and operations - including emergency services, energy systems, forest health, public health, stormwater, transportation, and water systems. Within these seven primary systems the team further identified 22 key planning areas. For example, emergency services is one of the primary systems with police, fire, EMS, disaster response and public works all being ‘key planning areas’ within that primary system.

The vulnerability assessment was conducted in two parts, through a sensitivity analysis and an adaptive capacity assessment. In addition to considering vulnerability, a risk assessment was built by determining the planning area’s function within city operations, and by estimating the degree of impact of climate change on each of the key planning areas and the probability and resulting risk of associated impacts of climate change. The degree of impact was assessed by considering the size of the affected population, whether the impacts could be life threatening, and the associated estimated costs. The vulnerability and risk assessment results are ranked and summarized in tables in this report.

Using a ranking matrix based on the vulnerability and risk assessments, the Core Team then determined policy recommendations that focus on reducing risk and increasing resilience within municipal operations.  'Resilience and Preparedness Values', and policy recommendations are proposed, as well as 'Resiliency and Preparedness Policy - Recommended Strategies and Actions' follow in specific detail to conclude the report.

The City of Flagstaff's long-term planning objectives and Municipal Sustainability Plan demonstrate an existing commitment to climate adaptation and resiliency.  In the summer of 2010, Flagstaff was recognized by ICLEI’s Climate Resilient Community’s Program as one of the 7 Inaugural Adaptation Communities chosen to receive individual technical assistance.

Related Organizations:
City of Flagstaff
States Affected:
Publication Date: September 2012