Seismic risk

Seismic risk

Seismic risk uses the results of a seismic hazard analysis, and includes both consequence and probability. A building located in a region of high seismic hazard is at lower risk if it is built to sound seismic engineering principles. On the other hand, a building located in a region with a history of minor seismicity, in a brick building located on fill subject to liquifaction can be as high or higher risk.

A special subset is urban seismic risk which looks at the specific issues of cities. Risk determination and emergency response can be also be determined through the use of an Earthquake scenario.

Determination of seismic risk

The determination of seismic risk is the foundation for risk mitigation decision-making, a key step in risk management. Large corporations and other enterprises (e.g., local governments) analyze their 'portfolio' of properties, to determine how to best allocate limited funds for structural strengthening of buildings, or other risk reduction measures such as emergency planning. In calculating the risk of each facility in the 'portfolio', potential life safety and economic losses due not only to structural damage, but also to equipment, contents and business interruption are considered. Public agencies (local, state governments and federal agencies) similarly analyze their portfolios. The interconnections of infrastructures such as water, road and highway, and electric power systems are also considered. Insurance companies routinely employ estimates of seismic risk in their operations, to determine appropriate insurance rates, to monitor over-accumulation of policies in a small area, and to purchase reinsurance.

Seismic risk is often determined using a seismic modeling computer programs which uses the seismic hazard inputs and combines them with the known susceptibilities of structures and facilities, such as buildings, bridges, electrical power switching stations, etcFact|date=May 2008. The result gives probabilities for economic damage or casualties. While the results can be used as a general measure of seismic risk for types of buildings, the actual seismic risk for any individual building may vary considerably and will depend upon its exact configuration and condition. Acquiring and analyzing the specific data for an individual building or facility is one of the most expensive and daunting aspects of seismic risk estimationFact|date=May 2008.

Reduction of seismic risk

Seismic risk can be reduced by active programs that improve emergency response, and improve basic infrastructure. The concepts of earthquake preparedness can help plan for emergencies arrising from an earthquake. Building codes are intended to help to manage seismic risk and are updated as more is learned about the effects of seismic ground motion on buildings. However, the changes generally do not immediately improve seismic risk in a community since existing buildings are rarely required to be upgraded to meet the revisions.

External links

* [ HAZUS] - Seismic Risk Program for the US
* [ An All HAZUS Web Space ]
* [ HAZUS Community website]
* [ Infrastructure Risk Research Project at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada]
* [] - Building Design Code and Earthquake Insurance
* [ OIKOS] - Educational European project based on Google Maps Mashups

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