Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
HAZUS-MH FEMA'S NATURAL HAZARDS LOSS ESTIMATION TOOL WHERE SCIENCE MEETS POLICY
HAZUS-MH IS a natural hazard loss estimation methodology developed by FEMA in partnership with the National Institute of Building Sciences. It uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to compute estimates of damage and losses that could result from earthquakes, hurricane (wind damage), and flooding (riverine and coastal hazards). HAZUS-MH is central to FEMA's mission in reducing the nation's vulnerability to natural disasters. It is designed to identify the hazards that various regions in the US face and to assess the level of risk that these hazards bring to communities. HAZUS-MH provides state and local decision makers with a better understanding of the types and magnitudes of the natural hazards. It is essential that the Geologic Community understand that HAZUS-MH is a tool that they need to be familiar with to support local and regional hazard mitigation and planning. HAZUS-MH is allows the scientist and engineer to have a direct impact on planning and policy decisions by refining and updating the hazard information in the models. This paper covers an overview of HAZUS-MH and the role geoscientist can have in implementing the model.
Using current scientific and engineering knowledge HAZUS-MH produces estimates of hazard related damage before, or after, a disaster occurs. HAZUS-MH takes into account various impacts of a hazard event such as: 1) Physical damage: damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools, critical facilities, and infrastructure; 2) Economic loss: lost jobs, business interruptions, repair and reconstruction costs; and 3) Social impacts: impacts to people, including requirements for shelters and medical aid. HAZUS-MH is designed to function on three levels of detail. Level one uses standard databases, level two involves the input of additional or refined data and hazard map for a city or region, and level three requires the involvement of technical experts such as structural and geotechnical engineers who can modify loss parameters based on to the specific conditions of a community. This flexibility makes HAZUS-MH an essential tool in understanding and managing the risks due to natural hazards in our communities.