Software computes disaster destruction
Orange County, Calif., recently completed a pilot project to build a computer model to help estimate potential losses from disasters. Using GIS-based software developed by the Washington-based National Institute of Building Sciences, the county collected data from various sources to create a comprehensive, community model that can be used to simulate potential natural disasters. The software, known as HAZUS-MH, calculates physical damage and functional loss to critical facilities, as well as deaths, injuries and economic losses. The county has simulated two earthquake scenarios since the Orange County Essential Facilities Risk Assessment began in March 2007. FEMA is training area authorities this month to use the tool to model disaster scenarios and calculate cost-benefit information needed to apply for FEMA mitigation grants. Free copies of the software are available at www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/hazus.