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Turn Down the Lights, Turn Up the Heat: Practitioner Assessments of Combined Heat Wave & Power Failure

Authors: Elizabeth Kurtz*, , David Hondula, Arizona State University, Paul Chakalian, Arizona State University, Sharon Harlan, Northeastern University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Energy
Keywords: power outage, heat wave, electricity, extreme heat, hazard, disaster, preparedness
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Power failures are a frequent consequence of natural hazards but analyses rarely consider the consequences of power failure as separate from the natural hazard that triggered them. This paper uses the scenario of simultaneous heat wave and wide-scale power outage in Phoenix, Arizona to examine how emergency managers, public health officials, and other practitioners perceive their response needs would differ during a multihazard event. This paper also uses practitioner assessments to anticipate household and city-scale adaptations, impacts, and the cascading consequences of a combined natural and technological hazard (e.g., heat wave and electrical grid failure). Lastly, we compare risk perceptions from household-level interviews with practitioner assessments to identify gaps in preparedness and response unique to hazard events involving electrical grid failure.

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