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Running Blog: National Earthquake Program Managers at NEC

Every four years the National Earthquake Program Managers (NEPM) meeting dovetails with that of the National Earthquake Conference (NEC). The result is a 5-day conference to evaluate the latest in earthquake science, earthquake engineering, and earthquake mitigation strategies.

From 2-6 March, the two groups, in aggregate more than 600 people, meet at the San Diego Sheraton on the Marina in San Diego, CA. The first two days the state earthquake program managers, representing ,more than 30 states and five U.S. Territories, share updates on their efforts to inform their citizenry and mitigate earthquake hazards.  Representatives of the five multistate earthquake consortiums -  *CUSEC, CREW, NESEC, SCEC, and WSSPC – meet to discuss their progress over the past year, too. From Canada, British Colombia will be at the table.

The latter three days (4-6 March) are dedicated to presentations and workshops arranged by NEC organizers. Earthquake consortium boards meet and strategize, too.

*Consortiums: CUSEC – Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium; CREW – Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup; NESEC – Northeast States Emergency Consortium; SCEC – Southern California Earthquake Center; WSSPC  Western States Seismic Policy Council.

Running blog NEPM (Days 2 & 1)

Day 2 – NEPM  8:00 am – 5:00 pm

 State Emergency Program Managers ‘5-minute’ updates of 2019 activity.

  • Puerto Rico – Primary focus on sharing earthquake preparedness/mitigation info. Best practices in the face of frequent ground shaking.
  • California – So much too talk about, so little time. CA leads all U.S. states in earthquake preparedness and mitigation.
    • MyShake app is live and can be downloaded.
    • Works closely and in coordination with SCEC and the CA Earthquake Country Alliance
    • Workshops pending, ‘Building a disaster resilient workplace’.
    • CA Earthquake Clearinghouse continue to grow and add functionally.
  • Alaska – Still collecting and distributing data from the 30 Nov 2018 M7.1 Cook Inlet earthquake.
    • In 2019, EERI hosted conference focusing on the 2018 Cook Inlet earthquake.
  • Oregon – Working on implementing their ‘2 Weeks Ready’ program.
    • They are piloting an immersive 2-Weeks Ready program at the neighborhood level.
    • Shake Alert soft roll out scheduled for summer 2020.
    • Washington – Growing ShakeOut and tsunami alert program.
    • Building a 2 Weeks Ready mobile app.
  • Missouri – Piloting RVS screening app with CUSEC.
    • SAVE Volunteer program has 1,000 members
    • Debuted Earthquake Summit – full day workshop – to more than 300 people.
    • Working with volunteers to evaluate school structures
  • Tennessee – Growing ShakeOut and working closely with Dept of Education
    • Piloting RSV with CUSEC.
  • Utah – Shakeout 2019 involves > 1,000,000 participants.
    • Continues to push ATC-20 training
    • Hosted successful 2-day workshop on URM
    • Piloting National Mitigation Investment Strategy planning
    • UT Seismic Safety Commission no longer a state board.
  • Kentucky
    • Involved in ShakeOut
  •  Mississippi – 26 counties in critical New Madrid fault zone
    • Launched a pilot program to evaluate school building structures
    • 334,000 participants in ShakeOut 2019
  • Montana – tectonically active with > 2,000 earthquakes annually
    • Trenching faults near Butte, MT
    • Great story map on seismic hazards in Montana
  • New Mexico – fleshing out their seismic net.
    • Building on ShakeOut participation
  • Virginia – Great ShakeOut in 2019 with 1.2 million participating.
  • Wyoming – Conducting research on Quaternary faults.
    • Restaffing some outreach in 2020.
  • Arkansas – Building resiliency through outreach
    • Mandated EQ drills in schools coming in 2021
    • 210,000 ShakeOut participants in 2019.
    • Looking to implement 2 Weeks Ready program.

----------------  END OF STATE UPDATES   --------------------

ShakeOut 2020 update with Mark Benthien (SCEC)

  • Mark shared a number of things including conceptual restructuring of ShakeOut mindset.
  • Number of participants in U.S. and worldwide continues to grow each year.
  • Lots of resources and revised resources for educators, civil authorities, health professionals …

HAZUS – New Developments in next version of seminal quantitative risk assessment.

  • HAZUS is going the ‘open source’ route in Github.
  • The Flood module should be available there.  Other hazards, e.g. earthquakes, to follow.
  • HAZUS goes granular with footprints and some structural data for individual buildings.
  • HAZUS Loss Library: PDF summaries of HAZUS runs will soon be available for 1000s(?) of hazard scenario. Now in Beta testing, full release later in 2020.

State Earthquake Program Strategic Plans for WA and CA

  • WA & CA shared elements of their 5-year strategic plans to stimulate conversation and discussion among those states that otherwise lack strategic plans.
  • CUSEC and WSSPC weighed in with their thoughts and encouraged states to stand up strategic plans.
    • This was 90 minutes of discussion that ranged from a sweeping overview to minutiae.

FEMA's Amanda Siok: Reduce Seismic Risk & FEMA funds

  • FEMA is in part restructuring their funding program.
  • BRIC – ‘Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities’ is replacing PDM and will be funded at a substantially higher level. Moreover, BRIC opens the door to more innovative and applied research.
  • BRIC is a game changer and should greatly support geologic survey efforts to collect more data on Quaternary faults and their potential impacts on society.


Day 1 – NEPM  8:00 am – 5:00 pm

What I learned while registering.

CUSEC is pioneering a Remote Visual Screening (RVS) & Building Safety Assessment app. Maine and Missouri are piloting the rollout, but there are opportunities for other states to participate.

  • Streamlines FEMA P-154 screenings
  • Allows for photos, sketches and more
  • Inputs in real-time
  • Can be hosted in ArcGIS Online

The morning session of Day 1 was dedicated to i) Best Practices for Earthquake program managers, and ii, updates from several state emergency

  1. BEST PRACTICES:  State/Territory EQ Program 101

• Program needs (funding, partnerships, gaps, support etc.) – Jeff Briggs 20 min

• Training needs (EQ program managers – new and old) – Althea Rizzo 10 min

• Best practices (EQ program) – Jim Wilkinson 10 min

• Best practices (Video projects) – Pascal Schuback 10 min

• Best practices (Seismic Retrofits) – Bob Carey 15 min

• Best practices (2 Weeks Ready) – Althea Rizzo 10 min

• Best practices (TBD) – Kevin Miller 10 min

ii. State Emergency Program Managers updates.

Some highlights from state presentations of Day 1:

  • Georgia hosted a successful student trifold shakeout promotion in 2019.
  • Nevada used its NEHRP (National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program) to build a statewide clearinghouse for seismic events to host and archive earthquake event data.
  • Colorado continues to build their regional seismic network.
  • Maine is using fresh LiDAR data to examine earthquake-related landslide events.
  • North Carolina increased their ShakeOut participants by 75% in 2019.
  • Texas is standing up an interactive earthquake epicenter app.

iii. Consortium updates. Bare bone highlights here.

  • CREW – Working on its earthquake early warning system.  Engaging elementary and HS students in building ShakeOut promotional videos; cash prizes awarded to top 3 in each category.
  • CUSEC – Rolling out Rapid Visual Screening app. Looking to partner with other states in piloting this tool. Participated in ‘Shaken Fury’ exercise in 2019.
  • WSSPC – Debuted major overhaul of website and addition of many online resources for the western states.

ATC update:  A representative of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reviewed some changes in the NETAP (National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program).  There are opportunities here for Arizona.

EERI update: EERI continues to build out clearinghouse functions and features. They provide webinars, workshops, and training sessions throughout the year. Their magazine EQ Spectra is available online and is not paywall protected.

FEMA representatives provided two-hour overview of NEHRP grants and training opportunities. Simply too much information to provide here. There appear to be some new FEMA grant programs on the horizon, most notably, BRIC.

NEW RELEASE: Earthquake Safety at Home (P-530). The document is 110 pages long, well-illustrated, and contains information essential to earthquake-proofing your home.

Last, Jose LeBron (FEMA) presented on the latest earthquake impact in Puerto Rico.