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NYCEM Project Nears Completion

Study region of the NYCEM project.

Researchers participating in the New York City-area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation (NYCEM) are completing the third year of HAZUS-based scenario studies for a 31-county study area of contiguous areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The team effort, sponsored by FEMA, the New York State Office of Emergency Management (NYSEMO), New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and coordinated by MCEER, involves researchers from Princeton University, Columbia University and professionals from several State and County agencies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The key elements of the study are to:

This is being accomplished through the systematic integration of building inventory data and more accurate characterizations of soil type and distribution into the HAZUS framework. A notable accomplishment of the study to date is the establishment of a building inventory for Manhattan at an individual level for all buildings, including structure and occupancy type, square footage, height, and other such factors. Considering the vast diversity of Manhattanís building stock, this is a unique achievement for HAZUS applications, making it one of the most-detailed and site specific seismic studies to date.

Princeton University Ph.D. candidate, Michael W. Tantala, presented the teamís most recent findings in a paper and exhibited poster at the 7th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Boston this past July. These may be found on the NYCEM web site at http://www.nycem.org.

The intended outcome of the project will be a regional loss estimation model that can project economic losses for the area in the event of a damaging earthquake. The model will enable emergency management officials, business owners, facilities managers and others to address vulnerabilities and to begin development of plans to reduce their respective exposure to earthquake risk. Recognizing a growing need to adopt an all-hazards approach to mitigation, this effort is seen as a first step toward building a robust disaster management program.

A preliminary validation of the HAZUS model was conducted by the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) using the April 20, 2002 Au Sable Forks, NY, 5.0 Mw earthquake as a test case.   A comparison was made between the actual losses sustained from this event with HAZUS estimated losses based on scenario inputs intended to mirror the Au Sable Forks event. A discussion of this benchmark study will be included as part of a final report detailing the outcomes of the 31-county study. The report is presently under preparation and will be made available on the NYCEM web site.

Any comments or suggestions concerning the bulletin are welcome!
To do so, write the editor at jestoyle@mceermail.buffalo.edu. Fall 2002.

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