"In order to assess and mitigate the impacts of a natural hazard such as an earthquake, flood or hurricane, it is necessary to have an understanding of the potential size of an event (hazard identification) and the characteristics of the population and environment that will be impacted (inventory collection). A unique feature of HAZUS-MH is the national inventory that comes with the model. Inventory data includes: essential Facilities: police, fire, emergency operations facilities, schools, medical facilities; lifelines: utilities and transportation; General Building Stock: residential, commercial, and industrial (aggregated by square footage); and demographic data, which can be aggregated by age, income, sex, households and other attributes that have a direct bearing on vulnerability to disasters. HAZUS-MH uses the inventories to estimate losses from earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. The accuracy of loss estimates are greatly improved by accurate and complete inventories. The HAZUS-MH inventory has several potential applications for planners, emergency responders and decision-makers. Several uses are highlighted below. HAZUS-MH can delineate the boundaries of a hazard and exposure of population and built environment The HAZUS-MH hurricane model can estimate wind intensity from specific events, including peak gust wind speeds and maximum sustained winds."
United States Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov/