Alcor's Scottsdale location was carefully chosen for several reasons.
Very low risk of natural disaster.
Long-term patient care requires a site relatively free from natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter blizzards (see natural disaster risk map below). This is not only important for the physical safety of the building, but also for the continued supply of liquid nitrogen, which must be produced at a complex industrial facility and delivered over a network of highways, both of which could be disrupted by a natural disaster.
While no place on Earth can be considered to be 100% geologically stable, the Scottsdale/Phoenix metropolitan area has a very low seismic hazard risk as assessed by the US Geologic Survey. No earthquake in recorded history has caused deaths or injuries in Arizona. Low seismic risk is a big advantage over Alcor's former location in California prior to 1994 (the year we moved to Scottsdale) and was one of the prime considerations in making the move.
Availability of major airport facilities.
The convenience of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which ranks consistently in the top ten US airports with the lowest number of annual flight delays, was a major factor influencing the decision to locate here. The predominately pleasant area weather means that runway and facility closures are extremely rare, and brief, occurrences. Sky Harbor ranks number one in fewest airport and runway closure hours per year; in many years there are none to record. So, Alcor's response team flies in and out of one of the world's most reliable facilities.
Alcor's building sits just a few hundred feet from the Scottsdale Airport (but off the flight path). This regional, single-runway facility is one of the busiest in the US. It provides services to a variety of smaller planes and jets. Patients can be flown in to Scottsdale on private aircraft or charter flights and will be inside Alcor's operating room minutes later. Alcor has a good relationship with the airport and uses it several times a year.
The absense of winter blizzards is a significant consideration not only for keeping the airports open and functional year-round, but to avoid interruptions in surface transportation. Locations with severe winter weather were removed from consideration because our ability to reach a member in distress would be compromised. In the Phoenix metro area the low annual precipitation, generally pleasant weather, modern highway system and wide surface streets all provide ideal, safe driving conditions for Alcor response vehicles.
Other favorable factors.
Scottsdale's overall crime rate is lower than the average for US cities and is extremely low in the northern area which includes Alcor's Airpark location. Unemployment is well below the national average (5.8% in August 2012). Contrary to what you might expect, the cost of living in Scottsdale is below the US average (95.9 compared to 100, as of March 2012).
The Phoenix/Scottsdale metropolitan area is marked with a red dot within the very lowest risk area for various natural disasters. The shaded areas represent high risk (dark shading), moderate risk (medium shading), and lower – but still significant, especially over long periods of time – risk (light shading) as a composite for four types of natural disaster: earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and blizzard. This map was prepared prior to choosing Scottsdale as a location for Alcor and was published in Cryonics, 4th Quarter, 1994.
Scottsdale is a nice place to live.
Scottsdale is also a nice place to live, retire to, or visit.