INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The CHUG (Central HAZUS Users Group) provides a means of collaboration between HAZUS-MH users within FEMA Region 5. This group looks at software challenges, HAZUS-MH projects, and the overall general use of HAZUS-MH software. The main goal of the CHUG is to maximize the potential of HAZUS-MH within the region. Sharing the successes and challenges between users helps bring the entire region together in planning for natural disasters.
HAZUS-MH use is currently growing and maturing within the region. The Polis Center at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, an active CHUG member, has been working with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to use HAZUS-MH in pre-disaster mitigation planning projects including the development of a statewide 100-year flood study as well as development of multi-hazard risk assessments using local data in 29 Indiana counties. Also, the CHUG has been working to encourage efforts of states like Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio who are just beginning to look into projects which could benefit by using HAZUS-MH.
The CHUG has had a very successful year. The CHUG held a conference at FEMA Region 5 headquarters and it was a huge success. Attendees represented organizations such as state emergency management, FEMA, USGS, and Universities. There was an information session as well as a strategic meeting. Goals and milestones were established to further the CHUG’s initiatives.
Benefits and Projects The CHUG formed a Google Group which has proven incredibly useful. This listserv was set up to quickly deliver HAZUS-MH news, upcoming events, and training opportunities. The CHUG felt like this would be a great way to share questions and answers within the user community. Since the Google Group has a web based interface all of the conversations can be tracked and searched giving a historical record of the events within the CHUG. In addition, this gives the user group a searchable, low maintenance way to search for questions and answers similar to a FAQ webpage. The listserv has over 100 members and is increasing weekly. Membership is open to users throughout the country with members from across the United States. You can join this group by visiting www.groups.google.com/group/hazusnet/.
In an effort to communicate with the user community the CHUG also created a webpage. It has proven to be a very effective way to share projects within the region and to communicate to the user community about upcoming events, training, and special announcements. Visit the CHUG website at www.hazus.org/CHUG/.