This paper addresses the problem of interdependent failures of critical infrastructures in disasters. Disruptions to critical infrastructure systems such as electric power or transportation frequently cause major social and economic loss in disasters, both directly and through failures in one system leading to or com- pounding disruptions in another. Strategic approaches regarding infrastructure failures are needed to guide community mitigation and preparedness efforts. This paper defines and provides a conceptual framework for investigating infrastructure failure interdependencies (IFIs) from the standpoint of societal impacts. In order to identify empirical patterns, a unique database has been developed of IFIs observed in major electric power outage events. This paper presents analysis of this data for a major Canadian disaster, the 1998 Ice Storm that affected the northeastern region of the country. The analysis identifies IFIs due to power outage caused by the storm that are of greatest societal concern. These represent potential foci for effective, targeted pre-disaster mitigation and preparedness efforts. The framework and ap- proach are broadly applicable across a range of natural and human-induced hazards.
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