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Hazus in Detail

This page discusses FEMA's Hazus program and usage for mitigation, planning, response and recovery efforts. This page is intended for Hazus software users and emergency management professionals.

FEMA’s Methodology for Estimating Potential Losses from Disasters

Hazus is a GIS-based software model which produces loss estimates for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis based on state-of-the-art scientific and engineering knowledge and software architecture. These estimates are essential for decision-making at all levels of government and are a basis for developing mitigation plans and policies, emergency preparedness and response, and recovery planning. Detailed information concerning the loss estimation methodology may be found here:

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Preparedness and Response

Hazus is highly sensitive to hazard and inventory input. Priority needs to be given to procedures for obtaining the most accurate hazard data from the National Hurricane Center and other sources during the event. However before the event, local inventory should be used to update the national datasets provided in Hazus.

  • Priority needs to be given to pre-disaster coordination and training with Emergency Support Function personnel to ensure that Hazus analyses is understood and properly used in future disaster operations.
  • It is important to have sufficient Hazus trained staff to maintain 24 hour operations.
  • There are multiple opportunities to enhance the Hazus inventory with user supplied data. Priority should be given to: Shelters, hospitals and other essential facilities, and manufactured housing.
  • Future Hazus validation studies and lessons learned will be made available to the public to help users better understand the model results, their reliability, and reporting strategies.. This will bolster confidence in the use of Hazus analyses for future disaster operations.

Which essential facilities in your region may be impacted by an earthquake? Will the local hospitals be functional three days after a hurricane? What routes should emergency vehicles travel to avoid flood waters? Hazus is a modeling tool that provides data to strengthen preparedness and response capabilities by assessing risk and forecasting losses.

Mitigation and Recovery

During the past decade, Hazus has evolved into a powerful tool for mitigation and recovery planning and analysis. Read about projects and studies where Hazus has been successfully implemented. Because Hazus models loss at the site and aggregate level, detailed mitigation strategies can be modeled to determine effectiveness.

  • The hurricane model may be used to help assess the benefits of hurricane straps, shutters, tie downs for manufactured housing, and different roof types.
  • The earthquake model may be used to help assess the benefits of seismic retrofits and implementing more resilient building codes.
  • The flood model may be used to help assess the benefits of elevating a structure and implementing buyouts.

FEMA has published a new job aid to help users identify and understand the multiple types of reports, tables, maps, and data produced by Hazus, and how this information can be incorporated into a Hazard Mitigation Plan. The document can also be used by those who are interested in applying Hazus for risk assessment. To download the document, visit the Hazus Handouts webpage in the FEMA Document Library.

Last Updated: 
05/22/2020 - 10:23