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FEMA seal before FEMA was merged into the Department of Homeland Security



The following items were re-formatted and updated for the web by Randolph Langenbach while an employee of FEMA Headquarters, but they were never published by FEMA on the web following administration and personnel changes.  Thus they are published here as a public service.  As products of the Federal Government, they are in the public domain.

   Flood Handbook               Earthquake Handbook

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Handbooks for Public Facilities, Originally produced and published in print form by FEMA Region X, two volumes, The Flood Mitigation Handbook and The Earthquake Mitigation Handbook are published here.  The Earthquake Mitigation Handbook is the product of a significant updating and expansion of the original print version.


As a service to those in India, Turkey, Haiti, and other countries who have recently experienced earthquakes causing extensive damage to Masonry and Concrete buildings, these publications published by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are reproduced here, or links to other sites on which they reside are placed hereThe following is a selection of publications that at the time this page was created, had not been electronically published by FEMA.  

To search those publications that FEMA has to date placed on its own website, click on the two links below


LIST OF FEMA PUBLICATIONS ON THE SEISMIC SAFETY OF BUILDINGS, including ordering information: Sources of information for design professionals and other decision makers in earthquake hazard mitigation.  Off-site link to FEMA website page.  Click on "Preparation and Prevention" to get to earthquake technical documents that FEMA has posted online.


LIST OF NATIONAL EARTHQUAKE HAZARDS REDUCTION PROGRAM (NEHRP) PUBLICATIONS, with links to downloadable PDF copies of many of these technical publications.  This link is to those publications designed for "Building Professionals and Engineers," but the box on the right gives access to all other categories.


The following items are available directly off this website as PDFs  Some of these are not available on the FEMA website as they have been superceded, and others are only available in hard copy, thus they are posted here as a public service to enable research on the evolution of the documents on the subject of earthquakes and existing buildings in the USA.


FEMA 154:  (2nd Edition-2002) Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards. (FEMA 155 is available only in the Print version directly from FEMA)  This document is an update of the iconic FEMA 154 published originally in 1988. 


A "Rapid Visual Screening" SPREADSHEET that is available exclusively on www.conservationtech.com can be downloaded for free by clicking on the link HERE.  IT is intended to provide a computer-based version of the "Data Collection Form" in FEMA 154.  This spreadsheet has been developed as a data collection tool so that it (1) requires no special software other than a Microsoft-Excel compatible spreadsheet program mounted on a PC or a Macintosh, and (2) is completely transparent with full opportunity for the user to add or change the modification factors to suit local conditions.  As is the Data Collection Form on which this spreadsheet is based, this spreadsheet is meant to be able to be modified by a local authority or any other user to reflect the needs and special circumstances that may exist locally...Read More.


FEMA 273:  (1997) NEHRP Guidelines for the Seismic Retrofit of Buildings.  This document was later superseded by FEMA 356 & 357 - the "PreStandard".


FEMA 274:  (1997) Commentary on the NEHRP Guidelines for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings.  This document was later superseded by FEMA 356 & 357 - the "PreStandard".


FEMA 306, 307, 308:  (1998) Evaluation and Repair of Earthquake Damaged Concrete and Masonry Wall BuildingsThese volumes are the product of a multiyear, multi-million dollar research project to better improve the post disaster evaluation and repair of buildings where cracks and loss of capacity have been difficult to evaluate in terms of future risk. 


FEMA 310:  (1998) Handbook for the Seismic Evaluation of Buildings.

FEMA 356:  (2000) Report on the Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings.

FEMA 357:
(2000) Global Topics Report on the Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings.
  This report documents technical changes to the chapters of FEMA 273- that were incorporated in the conversion of the document into a prestandard. The Prestandard is one step in the process to convert FEMA 273 into an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved national consensus standard.


ASCE 41:  (2007) Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings ASCE/SEI 41/06.  ASCE Standard No. ASCE/SEI 41-06  This is the successor document that converts the FEMA PRE-STANDARD into code language and updates it further.  This links to the ASCE website where the document may be purchased for download.  This is not a government document, and thus is not available for free.  To see the Table of Contents of ASCE 41 for free, Click on this link and scroll down to the link for the TOC. A description of this document is below.


Description of ASCE 41 (from ASCE website)

ASCE/SEI Standard 41-06, Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings, is the latest generation of performance-based seismic rehabilitation methodology. This new national consensus standard was developed from the
FEMA 356, Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings, which served as a starting point for the formal standard development process. ASCE/SEI Standard 41-06 represents state-of-the-art knowledge in earthquake engineering and is a valuable tool for the structural engineering profession to improve building performance in future earthquakes. It includes significant improvements in current understanding of building behavior in earthquakes, such as: Improved C-coefficients for calculation of the pseudo-lateral force and target displacement based on recommendations in FEMA 440; Comprehensive soil-structure interaction provisions including kinematic effects and foundation damping effects; Revised acceptance criteria for steel moment frames to reflect final conclusions of the SAC Joint Venture research; Expanded acceptance criteria for concentrically braced frames defined as a function of brace slenderness, compactness and level of connection detailing; and Updated nonstructural provisions to be consistent with current NEHRP Provisions for new buildings.

ASCE/SEI Standard 41-06 is a valuable tool for structural engineers and the public for improving seismic performance of existing buildings. The completion of the new Standard represents a considerable advancement for the engineering community.