Being Prepared for Climate Change

A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans


The Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook is a step by step guide for place-based organizations to develop risk-based climate change adaptation plans. This interactive online companion tool takes users through the steps of creating a vulnerability assessment. The tool automatically generates a consequence/probability matrix and formats a simple report based on user input. In the action planning steps the tool guides users to select high level approaches for managing risks, and generates a summary report of those decisions.

The purpose of the Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook, and this online companion tool, is to help people reach their own understanding of how climate change may affect their organization’s goals. This tool records that understanding to help users with their own decision making.

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Getting started

IT requirements

The tool lives online, there is no downloadable version of the tool application. The only system requirements are an internet connection and the preferred web browsers: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox. The tool is augmented by links to pdf documents as well as videos on YouTube.

Use of alternate browsers may result in reduced functionality or improper page displays. If an issue is encountered, please provide feedback through the Contact Us option.

With some browsers or display devices, changing the browser zoom level may be helpful.


Users should refer to the Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook about how to proceed through the thinking and doing of each step. An option to open a workbook pdf appears on tool pages.

Basic instructions about using the tool to complete workbook steps are provided on each page.

In Steps 1–5, users have the option of watching a short video featuring others who have used the workbook.

Users should be aware that following links in the standard EPA webpage headers and footers on the tool screens will take you away from this tool and may cause you to lose some of your work.

Your organization may need to use this tool over a period of time as you complete each step in the process. It is not expected that you would finish your vulnerability assessment and action plan in one short online session.

What the tool does

This tool helps manage information as users proceed through the steps of the Being Prepared for Climate Change workbook. Users enter all the information and decide its relative importance for themselves. The tool simply facilitates data input, manages the information, and formats it into products that can be used to guide future decision making.

Other than formatting user input, there is no behind the scenes addition, deletion, processing or change to what users enter.

Saving your work

Your Projects

Each project exists in two online versions.

  1. The latest version that is updated as users work on it.
  2. One other archived version.

Latest version

As users go from one screen to another in the tool, the current project files are updated. However, the tool only works in the forward direction, that is, you cannot go back by undoing your work.

Archived version

Users are able to save their project file into an online archived version. The tool only allows one archived version per project. Every time you save an archived version it overwrites any previous archived version that you had.

Reverting to the archived version will make your last saved archive become the latest version. What had been the "latest version" up to that moment will be lost.

You cannot review your archive just to see its contents: the only way to view your archived version is to activate it and have it replace the current version. You should create a Locally Saved Report whenever you are at a point where you might want a record of your work.

Locally saved report

Users can save project results onto their own computers at any time by navigating to the Vulnerability Assessment Report screen or the Action Plan Report screen and saving a corresponding html file (or printing a paper copy). The html file is for your reference: you cannot upload that file and resume working on it. A locally saved report is the only way to revisit an earlier version of your work (except by activating the last archived version).

The tool will time out after 60 minutes of inactivity. Please be sure you save your work or sign out if that is anticipated.


The EPA may delete projects as part of site maintenance. We will attempt to notify you via your sign-in email address before deleting projects.

If you want to share feedback about this tool please let us know by using the form at (the link will take you away from this tool). Your comments can be used to improve any future versions.