Hazus-MH Tool : a tool to coordinate the response to a risk

HAZUS-MH is a tool developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The FEMA is an agency of the United States of Homeland Security created by a Presidential Reorganization Plan in 1978 and implemented by two Executive Order in 1979. Its main goal is to coordinate the response to a risk and a disaster that has occurred in the United States of America. This Agency has a big impact in a crisis management because of the previous goal we explained.


So, the HAZUS-MH tool is a national tool, and everybody can use this tool because it exists a downloadable software package which gives us an access to FEMA and its Data. The FEMA makes a lot of data about risks: floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. With these datas, the HAZUS-MH (MH is for Multi-Hazard) can use the Geographical Information System (GIS) technology to evaluate impacts of a disaster like floods. This tool can be used in the City of New-Orleans about hurricanes and floods and their impacts. We can estimate different impacts to a disaster and more particularly social, environmental and economic impacts.

Figure 1 Example of the use of the HAZUS for Katrina’s Hurricane


Thanks to that tool, we can visualize different locations which present a high risk for one or more risk. Also, the HAZUS-MH tool permit an analysis on “spatial relationships between populations and other, more permanently fixed geographic assets or resources for the specific hazard being modelled.” So, people in municipalities can use this tool as a pre-disaster tool and they can establish plans to protect the population from potentials risks.

Figure 2 Representation of the HAZUS-MH tool

A lot of actors in urbanism or geomatics can use the HAZUS-MH tool to determine the losses of a potential disaster. So, Urban planners and geomaticians should work with emergency services because they must coordinate their intervention. The emergency services must take action quickly to secure, get people out of the buildings, houses, or rubbles, and carry injured people in the closest hospital or in a safe area. This tool permit to emergency service to have a better response to a potential disaster (if emergency services aren’t into a high risk area). HAZUS-MH tool determines potentials losses and minimizes the risk by different ways: by the law, by the planning, etc….


In a “mitigation planning process”, HAZUS-MH tool can be integer in it through the assessment step. The assessment step means that we must evaluate several points to reduce the impact of a risk in a predetermined area. The assessment of risks is “the foundation for a municipality long-term strategy” because reducing damage from a disaster is essential as many scales: governmental, regional, or municipal. We must take actions against these disasters, protect the population and equipments, etc…. Against these risks, the population should be aware by municipalities about risks which can occur in the city. Being ready against a natural disaster constitute an important step for the population, the Government and obviously, the cities.


The HAZUS tool is used as a support of the risk assessment and help to get a better response against a disaster, so, we can reduce disasters losses. Hazus-MH is a really good tool to estimate potential losses from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes.


FEMA, Hazus, le 19/02/2019, en ligne: https://www.fema.gov/hazus

US Climate Resilience Toolkit, Hazus-MH, le 31/01/2018, en ligne : https://toolkit.climate.gov/tool/hazus