Why conduct a scenario?

A scenario has as its end goal the reduction of earthquake risk.

It allows a community to develop a common vision of the threat and the issues involved in reducing or managing this risk. To be successful, collaborative relationships are built and maintained, among disparate groups in the community.

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Craig DePolo

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Reasons for conducting a scenario include:

  • collective problem-solving
    A scenario affords the opportunity for a community, organization or group to come together, get buy-in for the issues, and discuss problems and potential solutions associated with a future earthquake
  • providing a common foundation or “mental model”
    A scenario is an effective way to make sure everyone participating in the process is talking about and visualizing the same issues
  • identifying flaws and strengths in the system
    When used as part of an emergency response or management exercise, a scenario can identify weaknesses and highlight strengths in a response or management system, allowing for modifications before a real disaster
  • serving as an advocacy tool
    A scenario can serve as an advocacy tool to build community commitment to the earthquake risk reduction, as well as to secure funding and resources for solutions to the hazards laid out in the scenario
  • engaging and informing stakeholders and community decisionmakers
    A scenario is a useful tool for informing key stakeholders and leaders in the community on the local hazards in a way that makes the hazard come alive
  • examining alternative futures
    A scenario is a useful tool for providing a picture of alternative outcomes or futures in a community, with and without risk reduction actions
  • exercising and improving
    A scenario can be used effectively as the basis of exercises and trainings in a community or organization, helping to answer the questions of “what if”, which are necessary to an exercise
  • testing and training
    A scenario is a useful tool for testing a community’s ability to respond, and for training community and organizational leaders to better respond

Through a scenario, a community can initiate a risk reduction process, leading to direct actions that can save lives and property

Stakeholders in the scenario development process need to

  • believe it
    One of the goals of a scenario process is to get stakeholders, including the public and decisionmakers, to accept the information associated with it, by creating a believable picture of the problem
  • take ownership of it
    Stakeholders need to be engaged in developing the scenario, so that it becomes a common foundation from which the community can make decisions about reducing risk

  • take responsibility for change
    Stakeholders need to identify actions that will lead to change, based on the credible picture painted by the scenario