Use of HAZUS-Multi Hazard to Support Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation (Emergency Support Function #14)

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Under the National Response Plan (NRP), Emergency Support Function #14 (ESF # 14) provides a coordination mechanism for the federal government to assess the consequences of disasters and to coordinate the long-term recovery. ESF #14 is typically activated for large scale disasters that require federal assistance to address significant long-term impacts on the affected area (including impacts on housing, business and employment and community infrastructure). ESF #14 addresses three dimensions of recovery:

  • Social and economic community impact assessment
  • Long-term community recovery assistance to states, local governments and the private sector
  • Mitigation analysis and program implementation

Hazus-Multi Hazard (Hazus-MH) has three core capabilities that can contribute to the implementation of ESF #14. Hazus-MH can:

  • Measure potential effects of consequences of a disaster.
  • Simulate benefits and losses potentially avoided through the implementation of mitigation measures.
  • Assess County Loss Ratios, which measures residential loss as a percentage of total residential building value.

Use of Hazus to Estimate Losses Avoided Through Mitigation

Hazus-MH can be a valuable tool in estimating damage and loss of functionality from floods, earthquakes and hurricanes and the benefits from the implementation of select mitigation measures. The product of this analysis is estimates of losses avoided. Table 1 provides examples of losses avoided that can be estimated with HAZUS-MH from the implementation of various mitigation measures.

Losses Avoided from Select Mitigation Measures

Table 1. Losses Avoided from Select Mitigation Measures
Damage/Loss CategoriesLosses Avoided

Physical Damage

  • Buildings
  • Contents
  • Infrastructure
  • Landscaping
  • Site contamination
Avoided physical damages

Loss of Function / Economic Impacts

  • Loss of business income
  • Loss of rental income
  • Lost wages
  • Shelter costs
  • Disruption time for residents
  • Loss of public services
  • Economic impacts associated with loss of transportation and utility functions
Avoided costs associated with loss of function


  • Deaths
  • Injuries
  • Illnesses
Avoided casualties

Emergency Management Costs

  • Emergency Operations Center costs
  • Evacuation / Rescue costs
  • Debris removal and cleanup costs
  • Temporary measures costs
Avoided costs associated with emergency services and cleanup

Hurricane Model Applications for ESF #14

The Hazus-MH hurricane model is particularly well suited to estimating losses avoided through the implementation of mitigation measures. The hurricane model incorporates the following mitigation options for Single Family Residential:

  • Opening protection
  • Roof covering
  • Roof sheathing attachment
  • Roof framing attachment
  • Secondary water resistance

For Manufactured Homes, the hurricane model includes two mitigation options:

  • Tie-Downs
  • Shutters on all windows and entry doors

In 2003, FEMA sponsored a study to quantify the benefits of implementing select hurricane wind mitigation measures in South Florida. The results are shown on Table 2.

Table 2. Benefits from Wind Mitigation Measures in South Florida
Single Family HomesReduction in Annualized Hurricane Losses
 Install Shutters 17 percent to 46 percent
 Upgrade Roof 3 percent to 49 percent
 Add Secondary Water 3 percent to 35 percent
 Resistance (SWR)
 Upgrade Roof and Add SWR 4 percent to 57 percent
 Install Shutters and Upgrade Roof46 percent to 71 percent 
 Install Shutters, Upgrade Roof and SWR 51 percent to 85 percent
 Manufactured Homes
 Foundation Tie Down9 percent to 25 percent 

Application of Losses Avoided Analysis in SW Florida

Figure 1. Annualized Savings from Adoption of Mitigation MeasuresIn 2005, FEMA the Florida Division of Emergency Management sponsored the Southwest Florida Hazus-MH Pilot Project. One of the objectives of the project was to identify and implement a series of projects and activities that demonstrate the capabilities of Hazus-MH to support mitigation and disaster response.

The Mitigation Working Group used Hazus-MH to prepare an analysis of losses avoided from hurricane wind damage – expressed as savings in annualized losses - from the implementation of mitigation projects. The study findings are highlighted in Figure 1.

County Loss Ratios

 Hurricane Charley (2004)A third use of Hazus-MH for ESF #14 is analysis of County Loss Ratios.

During the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, FEMA used Hazus-MH to assess County Loss Ratios in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. County Residential Loss Ratios measure residential loss as a percentage of total residential building value. A loss ratio greater than 5 percent signifies that a community has suffered extensive residential damage, when the damage is measured as a percentage of the total residential building value. This information helps in prioritizing and planning the long-term recovery activities. Hazus-based benefit analyses can then be used in support of decisions on identification of mitigation alternatives and priorities for the most seriously affected communities.

Figure 2 shows the results of the Hazus-MH analysis of County Loss Ratios following Hurricane Charley in 2004. The analysis shows that Charlotte and Desoto counties have loss ratios that exceed 14 percent, which indicates severe residential damage and should be targeted for Individual Assistance programs.

In summary, ESF#14 provides the coordination mechanisms for the federal government to assess the consequences of the disaster in the impacted areas and to coordinate the long-term recovery. In this context, Hazus-MH can be used to support post-disaster analysis, including assessments of:

  • Social and economic impacts;
  • Losses avoided from the implementation of mitigation measures;
  • Severity of residential damage, expressed as County Loss Ratios.

This information for the Use of Hazus-MH to Support Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation is also available as a one-page handout in an alternative format.

  • Use of Hazus-MH to Support Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation (PDF 1.0MB)
Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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