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ROA Approach

Illustrative Projects:
Hazards & Vulnerability Analysis & Loss Estimates


Beginning with a publication assessing the potential losses from a repeat of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Mr. Olson has focused great effort on understanding and portraying risks, potential disaster impacts, and response problems. This work extended to other U.S. metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Memphis, and the U.S. – Mexico border area. Sometimes this included the development of training scenarios and various problem focused emergency response exercises. Mr. Olson frequently helps prepare new or updated Safety Elements for local General Plans.

For three years, Mr. Olson led a U.C. Berkeley team to develop loss estimation modeling techniques related to buildings and contents, water systems, casualties, benefit-cost analysis, and economic feasibility. Robert later supported the follow-up development of decision-support software to help building owners choose optimal strategies for replacing or repairing their damaged buildings. Robert also completed a report on the preparation and use of earthquake planning scenarios in the U.S. for the Institute of Future Technology, Tokyo.

Mr. Olson remains an active member of the Earthquake Committee of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). With funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the committee oversaw the initial development and testing of an earthquake loss estimation software (“HAZUS”) model, which now has been expanded to other hazards. With support staff from Kajima Corporation, Robert also helped conceptually design an "Earthquake Damage Propagation Flow Model” that linked various socioeconomic impacts with specific types of damage to identify the greatest post-earthquake response and recovery problems for major urban areas.

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