What data sources are used to determine Community Risk?

Learn about the data sources used to determine Community flood Risk.

Community Risk measures the threat flooding poses to communities relative to other communities throughout the U.S. along five categories: Infrastructure (including emergency services, utilities, and transportation), Social services, Residential properties, Commercial properties, and Roads. 

Flood Projections

The First Street Foundation Flood Model is used to determine the risk of flooding from rain, rivers, tides, and storm surge to facilities, roads and infrastructure in all five categories noted above. The Flood Model is a nationwide flood model that calculates the likelihood of a flood based on a location’s history and geographic information, such as elevation, climate, changes in the environment, proximity to water, and adaptation measures. 

Data sources used to determine Community Risk 

The data used to analyze the risk of infrastructures and roads come from a variety of public data sources. Property and land use data are supplied through a partnership with Lightbox. Road centerline data are sourced from the US Census Bureau’s TIGER data. Infrastructure facility data are from a variety of sources including the US Environmental Protection Agency. 

Risk to public infrastructure

  • Power station - Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD)
  • Wastewater treatment - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  • Superfund Site - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
  • Water outfall - The EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
  • Fire stations - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Police station - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Hospitals - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Port - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Airport  - Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Social risk 

  • Schools - Common Core of Data (CCD), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), United States Department of Education (ED) 
  • Historical buildings - The National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places (NIRS) 
  • Government Buildings - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Places of worship - The Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data Working group (HIFLD)
  • Museums - Worldwide Database of University Museums and Collections (UMAC) compiled by the ICOM committee 

Risk to roads

  • Roads - TIGER, United States Census Bureau (USCB)

Risk to residential  and commercial properties

  • Property parcels and land use type - Lightbox, sourced from county assessors and recorders
  • Building footprints - Mapbox, sourced from Microsoft Bing and OpenStreetMaps 

Operational Thresholds 

Many emergency services and critical infrastructure facilities are designed to maintain operations during minor flooding. To properly estimate the likelihood of interruption of operations, First Street has applied operational thresholds as specified in FEMA’s Hazus Program managed by FEMA’s Natural Hazards Risk Assessment Program (NHRAP) per facility type. This applies to utilities, emergency services, transportation facilities, and social infrastructure facilities. 

  Infrastructure Type

Operational Threshold (inches)

 Category

Residential parcels

  0 in 

  residential

Road centerlines

  6 in 

  road

Commercial parcels

  0 in

  commercial

Airport

  12 in

  infrastructure

Fire station

  24 in

  infrastructure

Hospital

  42 in

  infrastructure

Police station

  12 in

  infrastructure

Port

  12 in

  infrastructure

Power station

  24 in

  infrastructure

Superfund/hazardous waste site

  12 in

  infrastructure

Water outfalls

  0 in 

  infrastructure

Wastewater treatment

  0 in

  infrastructure

Government building

  0 in

  social

Historic building

  0 in

  social

House of worship

  0 in

  social

Museum

  0 in

  social

School

  12 in

  social

 

Levels available

  • Neighborhoods - Encompasses macro neighborhoods, neighborhood, sub-neighborhoods and residential districts (e.g. subdivisions and apartment complexes). Data provided by a third party data provider
  • Zip codes - are zip code tabulation groupings of local areas as provided by U.S Census Bureau. 
  • Cities - Place (County Subdivision in New England) as provided by the US Census Bureau. Refer to a village, town, or city typically governed by a mayor and council.
  • Counties - County or county-equivalents as provided by the US Census Bureau.



Learn more

Where does the information on Flood Factor come from? 

First Street Foundation Flood Model Methodology 

How are Community Risk levels determined?

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