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Development of a domestic earthquake alert protocol combining the USGS pager and FEMA Hazus systems

October 1, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey’s PAGER automated alert system provides rapid (10-20 min) loss estimates in terms of ranges of fatalities and economic impact for all significant earthquakes around the globe. In contrast, FEMA’s Hazus software, which is currently operated manually by FEMA personnel internally within several hours of any large domestic earthquake, provides more detailed loss information quantified in terms of physical damage to the building stock, as well as a broad range of social and economic consequences estimated at a much higher spatial resolution (census-tract level). Hazus was originally designed for FEMA’s mitigation planning, but has been used of late for post-earthquake situational awareness. While the quick alerts generated automatically by the PAGER system are a suitable way to initially identify consequences for earthquakes, there remains a need to provide detailed loss information for facilitating a wider array of post-earthquake decisions among emergency managers. As such, we have developed a prototype summary product that takes advantage of the benefits of both these loss models for significant domestic earthquakes. The signature product, a new twoPAGER report, will serve as a supplement to the widely deployed standard onePAGER product for all significant domestic earthquakes. Page one is the standard, automated PAGER alert content, with summary alert levels for overall fatality and economic loss estimates, as well as summary content on recent earthquakes, structure vulnerability, and historical secondary hazards. As soon as the Hazus run using the most up-to-date version of the USGS ShakeMap is completed and reviewed by both agencies, the second alert page will be generated and delivered via the USGS website as an update. This second page will contain a summary of the more comprehensive Hazus model results, including spatially distributed estimates of: affected population, economic impact, non-fatal injuries, displaced households, and damage to structures (including potential building safety evaluation requirements). This enhancement does not affect the timeliness and the importance of the initial (onePAGER) alerting content for significant earthquakes; however, the twoPAGER report will provide more detailed, damage and loss/impact content for the Nation in the critical hours following a damaging earthquake.

Publication Year 2018
Title Development of a domestic earthquake alert protocol combining the USGS pager and FEMA Hazus systems
Authors David J. Wald, H.A. Seligson, Jesse Rozelle, J. Burns, Kristin Marano, Kishor Jaiswal, Mike Hearne, D Bausch
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70199380
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center