Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities

Flooding is always hard on a community, but when hospitals, mass transit, utilities, and others that impact the health and safety of residents are under water, these facilities may not be able to provide critical services or may even be forced to shut down. This leaves residents and businesses vulnerable to other threats and makes flood recovery ever more challenging. The Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities is available online to assist critical facilities evaluate their preparedness for when the next big rainstorm hits.

In the hours and days after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States in 2012, damage to essential equipment—including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems—prevented many critical facilities in New York and New Jersey from serving their communities when those communities needed them most. In some cases, essential equipment was elevated well above the floodwaters; however, many other critical systems (transformers, transfer switches, fuel tanks, pumps, etc.) were placed at lower levels and therefore vulnerable to flooding. When those vulnerable elements failed, the systems were rendered inoperative and critical systems were unavailable to help flooding communities.

The goals of the assessment are:

  • Identify specific vulnerabilities of a particular critical facility to flooding by looking at factors such as proximity to a floodplain or other bodies of water, past flooding issues, emergency management plans, and location of critical systems like primary and back-up power.
  • Provide recommendations and/or resources to critical facility managers for short- or long-term changes that could be made to reduce their facility’s risk to flooding.
  • Provide educational information to increase the awareness of critical facility managers to their facility’s risk of either riverine or urban flooding.


Contact Info

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Kristin TePas
Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development Coordinator and Great Lakes Outreach Specialist
Skip to content