Benefits Of Mitigation: Overview Of Assessments Of Future Savings

Friday, February 3, 2006
Room 2167 Rayburn 10:00 - 11:00 am

Mitigation of natural hazards can save lives, property and other indirect losses associated with catastrophes such as hurricanes and floods. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the devastating flooding spawned by the storm, cost-effective mitigation has become an even greater priority. Assessing the costs and benefits of mitigation has posed problems because information is often anecdotal. Congress called for an independent assessment in 2000 and in December 2005, the Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences released a detailed report on the benefits of mitigation for many different hazards and concluded “a dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4.” In January 2006, the National Research Council released a report on the benefits of improved seismic monitoring concluding that annualized mitigation costs of tens of millions could save hundreds of millions in potential future losses.


Brian Pallasch, American Society of Civil Engineers


David Maurstad, Acting Mitigation Division Director and Federal Insurance Administrator for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Introduction of the Multihazard Mitigation Council report

L. Thomas Tobin, MMC Project Manager, Tobin and Associates, Mill Valley, California 
Overview of the Multihazard Mitigation Council report "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities"

Adam Z. Rose, Economist, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Cost-effective mitigation: How to weigh the benefits
Overview of the SeismicMonitoring report "Improved Seismic Monitoring, Improved Decision-Making: Assessing the Value of Reduced Uncertainty" 

William Leith, Advanced National Seismic System Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston Virginia
The Advanced National Seismic System: Reducing the Devastating Effects
of Earthquakes

David Maurstad is Acting Federal Insurance Administrator and head of the Mitigation Division for Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Maurstad has been serving as director of FEMA's Region VIII in Denver since his appointment by President George W. Bush in October of 2001. As a FEMA regional director, Maurstad coordinated FEMA's disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities for six states: Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Maurstad holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Thomas Tobin has worked on natural hazards, risk management and public policy issues for 40 years. As a consultant, he helped the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shape Project Impact and the Disaster Resistant University initiatives. He is chief operating officer for GeoHazards International bringing resources and technical knowledge to developing countries to reduce earthquake risk. Tom is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley in civil engineering, has a Master of Science degree in geotechnical engineering from California State University at San José, and is a registered professional engineer.

Adam Rose is Professor of Energy, Environmental, and Regional Economics in the Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University where he focuses on the economics of natural and man-made hazards. He is a faculty affiliate of the DHS Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events and of the NSF Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, where his work emphasizes resilience to natural disasters and terrorism at the levels of the individual business, market, and regional economy. He received his Ph.D. degree in Economics from Cornell University.

William Leith is Coordinator of the Advanced National Seismic System, and Associate Coordinator for the Earthquake Hazards and Global Seismic Network Programs at USGS. Also while at the USGS, Bill advised the Department of Defense on the dismantling of the former Soviet Nuclear test site near Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, and in the implementation of a series of large-scale explosion experiments to calibrate global and regional seismic monitoring systems. He received his Ph.D. degree in Geology/Seismology from Columbia University.

Sponsored By:

Representatives Jo Bonner, Wayne Gilchrest, Zoe Lofgren and Dennis Moore, co-chairs of the Congressional Hazards Caucus, and Bill Shuster, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

American Geosciences Institute
Association of State Floodplain Managers
Seismological Society of America