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WEB-BASED HANDBOOK (Legacy Edition). CLICK HERE to submit comments.
Because of staff changes and Randolph Langenbach's retirement from FEMA, these handbooks were never published on the FEMA website.  These are the only copies available.



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Symbols and Keywords
     A.    Introduction

    B.    Intro to Seismic Upgrading

    C.    Structural Concepts  

        C1. Technical Commentary (1)

        C2. Technical Commentary (2)

    D.    Step 1: Risk Assessment

        D1. Upgrade Priority

        D2. Geographical Risk

        D3. Building Structural Types

        D4. Year of Construction

        D5. Load-path Assets+Debits

        D6. Rapid Visual Survey Sheet
     E.    Step 2: Mitigation Measures



    A.     Introduction

    B.     Utility Mitigation Measures


     A.      Regulations
     B.      Glossary

     C.      Acronyms
     D.      References
     E.      List of Contributors


Hazard Mitigation Handbook


Earthquakes can be one of the most devastating natural disasters. In September, 2000, FEMA released a study estimating annual earthquake losses in the United States to be $4.4 billion, with California, Oregon and Washington accounting for $3.3 billion. The largest earthquake in the United States was the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, 8.4 on the Richter Scale, caused $311 million in damage (in 1964 dollars) and killed 115 people. Nationwide, 39 states are at high risk for a devastating earthquake.

Earthquake mitigation, ranging from improved building codes to homeowner education to upgrading bridges and other lifelines, has had tremendous success in reducing earthquake damage. One effective earthquake mitigation is improved building codes and standards. As a result of the Northridge Earthquake of 1994, in southern California, for example, the greatest physical loss was sustained by older buildings - over 112,000 were damaged. However, according to a 2000 report on hazard mitigation, those structures built after 1976 performed significantly better than those built prior to 1976.

By far the most serious earthquake damage is structural, which can be hidden or apparent, and can be cosmetic or can compromise the structural integrity of the building. Non-structural building damage might include impacts to sprinklers, pipes, suspended ceilings, etc.

This Handbook

The Earthquake Hazard Mitigation Handbook for Public Facilities (Handbook) is intended to aid local jurisdictions in identifying a variety of feasible mitigation measures that can be implemented. The Handbook includes projects that could either eligible or ineligible for disaster recovery funding under the Public Assistance Program. Frequently, due to the urgency to repair the facility following a disaster, long-term mitigation opportunities cannot be utilized.

This Handbook provides local jurisdictions with mitigation ideas, many of which have demonstrated success and timeliness. These mitigation measures should be used as a source of ideas for potential mitigation projects, regardless of whether or not the facility will be eligible for disaster recovery funding.

Organization of mitigation measures in this Handbook:
Damages to public facilities sustained in an earthquake can vary greatly depending upon the various failures or damages that occur. This Handbook is organized first by type of facility, then by damages that are commonly sustained by that facility. Each category of damage lists a selection of mitigation ideas to consider. The general effectiveness, limitations, and considerations of each mitigation measure are also identified.

Engineering, design, and permitting requirements:
The Handbook does not detail site-specific requirements, as the engineering analysis, design, and permitting of each project will vary widely. Mitigation of structural elements most often will require a professional engineer who can provide a detailed analysis of the structure's seismic behavior to determine the appropriate actions.

Regulations & Considerations:
The following considerations have been symbolized for their reference in each mitigation measure, and are defined in Appendix A, "Regulations and Considerations."

National Environmental Policy Act
National Historic Preservation Act
Maintenance Required to Maintain Effectiveness
Project May be Cost-Prohibitive
Professional Engineer Required for Design
Structure's Aesthetics Could be Impacted

Mitigation Keywords:
The "Glossary and Keyword Index," found at Appendix B, provides a glossary of terms used in the Handbook and identifies mitigation keywords, which are italicized and bolded in the text. A keyword is a mitigation element used in two or more mitigation measures in the Handbook, and is intended to help the reader become familiar with the mitigation element by understanding its use in a different measure.


NOTE:  None of the mitigation measures in these Handbooks should be considered ‘pre-approved’ or otherwise automatically eligible for FEMA funding. Only FEMA staff can determine eligibility, once they have determined that an applicant is eligible and they have reviewed a project proposal.

FEMA HAZARD MITIGATION HANDBOOKS                                                                        Updated: June 13, 2002