An integrated approach to modeling the impact of floods on emergency services: A case study of Calgary, Alberta
Authors: Michele Tsang and Darren M. Scott
Highlights * Method for flood inundation mapping determines flood extent and depth. * Models relationship between water depth and reduction in vehicle speed. * Measures changes in accessibility of emergency services for residential and work populations. * Accessibility influenced by number and location of emergency facilities. Abstract Floods are becoming more frequent and the magnitude of direct consequences, relating to destruction of critical infrastructure and loss of life, has highlighted the importance of flood management. This study proposes a methodology for quantifying the impact of predicted and historic flood events on emergency services. The approach moves beyond simple flood inundation mapping by accounting for the relationship between flood depth and vehicular speed. A case study is presented for Calgary, Alberta, where the depths of a predicted 100-year flood and a historic 2013 flood event are modeled. The methodology applies geographic information systems to flood depth mapping, utilizing digital elevation models, flood extents, and hydrological data. Flood depths are then assigned to links comprising the road network, where the maximum vehicle speed is calculated as a function of the standing depth of water on a link. The flooded network is used to derive service areas for several types of emergency services (emergency medical services (EMS), fire, and police), following targeted response times. The results locate and quantify the residential and work populations that no longer meet the targeted response times. During both flood scenarios, EMS is found to have the greatest reduction in accessibility, with 23% and 47% of residents and workers, respectively, not served. Fire services are seen to be more resilient with only 3% and 9% of residents and workers, respectively, not served. The results for police services are similar to fire services. However, the former have a greater range of response times, meaning these areas represent those that are completely isolated during both flood events. Overall, the integrated methodology quantifies vulnerable populations on a partially degraded network, the results of which can be used to develop evacuation plans and emergency response strategies.
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