How resilient is your Telco?

Author:Cauffman, Stephen

Every community in the United States faces the risk of natural, human-caused or technological hazards. While most hazards do not rise to the level of extreme events, they often inflict significant economic losses and disruption to lives and commerce due to damage to buildings and infrastructure systems.

To address this problem, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established the Community Resilience Program. The first product of this program, the "Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems," was released on October 29, 2015--the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The guide benefited from input by a broad range of stakeholders and experts, including participants in a series of national workshops and the NIST Disaster Resilience Fellows.

The guide is intended for implementation by communities with local governance structures, with active participation and collaboration from stakeholders, including:

* Town, city, and county administrators and managers

* Community members and organizations

* Building owners, utility owners and operators

* Businesses and industries in the area

* State and federal government agencies

It recognizes that no one entity can address resilience by itself. The guide lays out a practical approach based on establishing a shared set of goals aiming to maintain or quickly restore important social and economic functions following a disruptive event. Using this shared set of goals, communities can prioritize, plan and undertake improvements in the ways buildings and infrastructure systems are built, maintained and operated. It also helps communities identify dependencies among buildings and infrastructure systems and cascading effects of system failures. Implementation of the resulting plan can help communities improve their resilience over time.


Buildings and infrastructure systems are vital to community prosperity and health. If these systems fail, or are damaged, businesses and essential services can be interrupted over a wide geographic area. Resilient communities are more likely to experience minimal or local disruptions to business and services and avoid long-term detrimental effects for the hazards they face. If an extreme event should occur, the extent of disruption and recovery time can be reduced. Communities with well-developed resilience plans can use the recovery process following a hazard event, when funding is often available, as an...

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