Subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance for manmade and natural hazards and disasters

Todd White, Samuel Ariaratnam, John Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The consideration of all aspects of the systems that support a community is necessary to accomplish adequate long range asset planning and protection. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the addition of a subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance emphasis to an existing series of vulnerability assessment tools used by the State of Arizona, and investigate economic impact (disaster recovery) estimation methods for potential incorporation. The intent is to provide a framework for model development and suggest data to be collected. Design/methodology/approach: Through modifications of existing system components, a subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance emphasis is proposed for the State of Arizona's current vulnerability assessment tools. Although they can be adjusted as needed, the modifications presented herein include 11 subterranean assets and ten threats to subterranean assets. Furthermore, existing methods for estimating the economic impact of disasters are investigated via literature reviews, e-mails, and telephone correspondence. Findings: Regarding the subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance component, a number of emerging technologies are currently available to monitor the various infrastructure elements from the identified potential threats. The process of linking the various data collection elements into a comprehensive surveillance system is currently underway in Arizona. Interim reconnaissance techniques using local statistic models will be applied incrementally while the data integration process is underway. With respect to the economic impact estimation module, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's HAZUS-MH loss estimation model was identified as a top prospect for testing. Research limitations/implications: The research focuses on examining the interdependencies and vulnerabilities of critical subterranean infrastructure. Therefore, critical surface or above ground infrastructure components are not primarily discussed. Additionally, this paper presents only a plan; there are no empirical results to date. Practical implications: The methodology discussed may be utilized to support the decision-making process for managing resources used to sustain subterranean infrastructure operations, with the goal of providing resiliency to community support mechanisms. Originality/value: The specific focus on developing a subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance emphasis in a State's disaster management program is a novel tool for Arizona. The value is to enhance preparation, response, resilience, and recovery from hazards and disasters affecting the State's critical subterranean infrastructure. It is theorized that value will further be generated in a resulting subterranean infrastructure reconnaissance template, which can be adopted by other emergency and disaster management organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-86
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


  • Critical infrastructure
  • Disaster management
  • Disaster resilience
  • Forward planning
  • Subterranean infrastructure
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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