Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS)

IN dept homeland securityDevelopment of Indiana Multi-Hazard
Mitigation Plans

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) partnered with The Polis Center, regional commissions, and local community planners to facilitate the creation of multi-hazard mitigation plans in accordance with the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. Since 2003, The Polis Center has led the development for nearly all of Indiana’s 92 counties. The Polis Center led the entire planning process, which includes data collection, leading planning team meetings, completing qualitative and quantitative risk analyses, helping the local team to brainstorm mitigation strategies, and developing the final plan.

As part of the process, Polis developed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that made it possible to use local GIS data and property assessor information for updating Hazus-MH general building stock data (address & lat/long for each parcel, occupancy classification, square footage, year built, number of stories and basic construction type).  With assistance from local government staff, Polis also assisted the counties in the mapping of essential facilities for use in the model.  GIS and Hazus-MH analyses were performed as part of the process of generating quantitative risk assessments.

Our plans have been praised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V for the unique community-based process we developed, which engages local stakeholders early and often and analyzes risks using local data. We recognize that the local community has the best data and insight, and we help its agencies enhance, interpret, and transform their knowledge into information for effective planning.


Indiana Hazus-MH Education

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and The Polis Center at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis have engaged in a multi-year collaboration between 2002 and 2010 that enabled emergency managers and other related professionals in Indiana to obtain training in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazus-MH application.  Using GIS technology, Hazus-MH allows users to compute estimates of damage and losses that could result from an earthquake, flood, or hurricane winds.

This collaboration was created in response to a need identified by IDHS to ensure that the Hazus- MH tools are made available to the widest possible range of local users.  Indiana has 92 counties and over 3,400 populated cities and towns.  In addition, the State has a multitude of local planning agencies that manage the activities of various combinations of these entities.  IDHS recognized that each planning jurisdiction has potentially unique challenges that require effective mitigation strategies.

Through its Professional Education Program, Polis has for more than twenty years provided a wide range of geographic information systems (GIS) education that supports the development of both software skills and conceptual knowledge.  As a local training provider, Polis provides examples of Hazus-MH applications that are relevant to the Indiana GIS user community.

In addition, by introducing counties, cities, and towns in Indiana to GIS through the Hazus-MH program, they have also become aware of the much broader potential of this technology as a tool for information collection and analysis that could positively impact efforts not only in emergency management but also infrastructure planning and management, economic development, and many other areas as well.