Using the HUB to Study Disaster Events

By Eric Letvin1; Santiago Pujol2

1. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) 2. Purdue University



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NIST is creating a Disaster and Failure Events Data Repository which will host a national archival database of significant hazard events, the observed performance of the built environment during those events, associated emergency response and evacuation procedures where appropriate, and the technical, social, and economic factors that affect pre-disaster mitigation activities and post-disaster response efforts. The repository will help ensure that valuable data are organized and maintained to enable study, analysis, and comparison with subsequent severe disaster events. This data repository effort will support the development of standards and new technologies for efficient and effective collection of data on disaster and failure events. It will also be used to positively impact building codes, standards, and construction practices to reduce the impact of natural and manmade hazards. The presentation will (1) focus on data collected, organized and displayed on the NIST Hub for two pilot events (Chile earthquake in 2010 and the Joplin tornado in 2011) and (2) outline some of the upcoming challenges bringing the repository fully online for future events.


Eric Letvin is the Director of the Disaster and Failure Studies Program at the National Institute for Standards and Technology's Engineering Laboratory. He provides national coordination for conducting field data collection studies. He is also responsible for creating and maintaining a repository related to hazard events (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, community-scale fires in the wildland-urban interface, structural fires, storm surge, flood, tsunami) and human-made hazards (accidental, criminal, or terrorist), the performance of the built environment during hazard events, associated emergency response and evacuation procedures.

Eric has experience in infrastructure risk assessments, post-disaster forensic analysis, hazard / threat identification, vulnerability assessments and the design of protective measures for man-made threats and natural hazards. He has participated in numerous post-disaster studies including the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, Hurricanes Opal, Ike and Katrina. Mr. Letvin holds a bachelor's and master's degree in environmental engineering from Syracuse University and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Santiago Pujol is as an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in the structures group at Purdue University. His research interests include earthquake engineering, seismic vulnerability of existing structures, performance-based methodologies, instrumentation and testing of structures, response of structures to impulsive loads, structural-health monitoring, and repair and strengthening of structures. Dr. Pujol works with NEEScomm, ITAP, and NIST in the development of databases for information on the effects of earthquakes and other hazards on the built environment.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Eric Letvin; Santiago Pujol (2013), "Using the HUB to Study Disaster Events,"

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Nikki Huang

Purdue University


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