The assessment of the debris flow hazard potential has to rely on semi-quantitative methods. Due to the complexity of the debris-flow process, numerical simulation models of debris flows are still limited with regard to practical applications. Thus, an overview is given of empirical relationships that can be used to estimate the most important parameters of debris-flow behavior. In a possible procedure, an assessment of a maximum debris-flow volume may be followed by estimates of the peak discharge, the mean flow velocity, the total travel distance, and the runout distance on the fan. The applicability of several empirical equations is compared with available field and laboratory data, and scaling considerations are used to discuss the variability of the parameters over a large range of values. Some recommendations are made with regard to the application of the presented relationships by practicing engineers, apart from advocating field reconnaissance and searching for historic events wherever possible.