Well. We can learn that complex systems fail. Sometimes very simple systems fail too, depending on the user.
Here are some examples that can help us explore the best approaches to prevent accidents and reduce risks in systems that require human interaction. There are some lessons that we can apply to flood risk mitigation. At the end of the post we roll the lessons in these unrelated disciplines into
the flood risk connections of interest to CityFloodMap.Com readers.
|Therac-25 Radiation Machine - too complex for smart folk.
|Compact fluorescent light bulb - too complex for regular folk.
|Managing risk with fail safe flood proofing retrofits - New York City.
Physical measures related to the way we build homes can ensure that valuable finishes and belonging stay above flood prone levels in sewers and overland - New York has just put out a great document COASTAL CLIMATE RESILIENCY Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk available here.
Sewage pumping stations used to have overflows to adjacent watercourses in case of failure of the pumps or power supply. To better manage environmental conditions, these fail-safe "hardware" overflow features have sometimes been removed.
Cities should map and manage urban flood risks so that fail-safe, physical controls can be preserved or retrofitted in the landscape. Calgary had their flood risks mapped but ignored them, building right in the floodway with no physical separation from the risk - that was a formula for disaster. Planning agencies and ministries should take ownership of risk management and promote fail-safe physical controls, even revisiting the benefit of reliable, physical overflow features in pump stations for the most extreme events.
|Intact Insurance repeats IBC and ICLR's "Telling the
Weather Story" theoretical statement on bell-curve
probability shifts as 'fact'.
|New York City - Example Streetscape with Flood-Proofed Bungalows
|Sump pump installation.
|New York City - Floodproofing Illustration.