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This brief addresses the contextual definition of resilience, explains the existing resiliency frameworks developed by Federal Agencies, and emphasizes the risk informed approach to applying resiliency concepts to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) documents.
In an effort to assess and further define NFPA’s position in the realm of resiliency, this brief identifies those provisions in NFPA codes and standards that embody the concepts of resiliency. Additionally, the brief develops an NFPA-centric definition of resiliency and compiles available information to serve as a technical reference for the codes and standards, identifying key gaps in knowledge. Key topics range from engineered features and the built environment to emergency response and risk-informed approaches to disaster events. The brief also includes a comprehensive literature review on multiple resiliency frameworks. Written for fire protection engineers and professionals who handle disaster risk assessment, this brief provides a thorough overview of resiliency concepts and how NFPA procedures strive to meet recommended standards.



Chapter 1. Introduction

NFPA is a nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. NFPA’s Articles of Organization(1) clearly defines this purpose:

Kenneth W. Dungan

Chapter 2. Overview

Recent catastrophic events such as hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy, numerous wildfires, and the Fukushima tsunami have focused attention on our ability to design for and react to these types of events. In some cases these events are considered Beyond Design Basis. Often the design bases presented in codes, standards, and regulations are a reflection of empirical or statistical information that lead to a predicted worst case. These events may be characterized as the hundred year or the thousand year event. As will be discussed in the next section on Risk Methodologies, the consensus evolves as to how frequent and how severe an event to plan for in our designs and responses. The increasing frequency and escalating severity of the natural phenomena have focused attention on Community Disaster Resilience. Since we can have little effect of the causes of these events (at least in the near term), it is prudent to evaluate how best to cope with them. As stated above, the focus of this coping should be minimizing damage and disruption to public health and safety, the economy, environment, and national security.

Kenneth W. Dungan

Chapter 3. Risk Informed Approach

Resources available to achieve resilient infrastructure and improved community disaster resilience are not inexhaustible. Therefore the approaches recommended by the DHS initiatives all emphasize risk as the basis for decisions. NIPP 2013 identifies understanding risk as its National Plan’s first core tenet:

Kenneth W. Dungan

Chapter 4. Buildings and Infrastructure

Technical Committee member considering incorporating concepts of disaster resilience are encouraged to study the NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, Special Publication 1190. The performance categories provide an essential context for considering the role of NFPA documents. For the purposes of this Chapter, the discussion will be divided into two main areas: existing NFPA codes and standards and future NFPA documents.

Kenneth W. Dungan

Chapter 5. Emergency Preparedness—Planning, Response and Recovery

This section is intended to address those aspects of Community Disaster Resilience that go beyond the Engineered Features discussed in Sect. 4. A valuable starting place is to repeat the National Preparedness Goals measures of success:

Kenneth W. Dungan


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