2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


WINE III, J. Clayton, Building Services, Charleston County, 4045 Bridge View Dr. Room A311, North Charleston, SC 29405, SIMMONS, Carl H., Charleston County Building Services, 4045 Bridg View Dr, North Charleston, 29405 and LEVINE, Norman, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, jcwine@charlestoncounty.org

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.