Risk-Management Practices in Local Communities

by Marshall W. Meyer, Kenneth A. Solomon

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Discusses the current state of risk-management practices in local communities in the United States and offers some alternatives to present policies, which are mainly implicit rather than explicit attempts to limit overall risks of death and injury due to technological and natural causes. The paper is divided into three sections. The first discusses the concept of risk-management as presently used in local governments. The second presents results from a limited survey of local risk-managers. The third offers some policy alternatives. All of the observations point toward the conclusion that local government officials have little understanding of, hence little concern for the quantity of risk posed for citizens by various hazards. If it seems desirable to place risk-management decisions in the hands of local officials, then some capacity for risk quantification, hence comparison, must be developed. The bulk of the policy suggestions at the end of this paper concerns possible means through which this capacity might be augmented.

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