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Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills 
October 2016 - At 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2016, millions of people will "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in the Great ShakeOut, the world's largest earthquake drill. Everyone is encouraged to participate and inform others about the drill because earthquakes can occur at any time and happen anywhere: at home, at work, at school, or even on vacation. ShakeOut is a chance to prepare yourself, your family, and your organization by practicing protective actions to take during earthquakes and other aspects of your emergency plans. Register today so that you will:

 - Be counted  in the largest-ever earthquake drill in the world!
 - Be listed with other participants in your area. (Optional)
 - Be an example that motivates others to participate & prepare.

Worldwide, more than 25 million people will participate in the ShakeOut.  CUSEC has led and participated in ShakeOut activities since 2011 in the Central U.S. and since 2012 in the SouthEast. To find out more and how to participate, visit

September is National Preparedness Month
September 2016 - Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ready Campaign host "National Preparedness Month" - an effort to improve individual and community preparedness towards disasters.  In 2016, National Preparedness Month is a timely reminder that we all need to be better prepared.  In the past two months, there have been earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and severe weather that have caused damage and loss of life in the Midwest and Southeast United States. From Hurricane Hermine to the historic flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the moderate M5.8 earthquake near Pawnee, Oklahoma, these events have impacted thousands of individuals.  While natural disasters cannot be prevented, many of their impacts can.  On a community level, it is important to adopt and enforce modern building codes, which take into account local hazards, to reduce deaths and injuries, as well as improve community resiliency.  On an individual level, being prepared for a disasters can be accomplished in a variety of ways.  From making communications plans to reconnect with family members, to building disaster supply kits, to taking first aid training, citizens can play an important role in improving their own ability to respond following an event.  

Following National Preparedness Month, CUSEC will again be participating in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, set for Thursday October 20 at 10:20AM, local time.  The ShakeOut is another dedicated time to practice how to be prepared and stay safe, for earthquakes and other disasters.  In 2015, more than 40 million people participated in ShakeOut drills around the globe, practicing how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in the event of an earthquake.  We encourage everyone to learn how to stay safe and how to  participate in the ShakeOut by visiting

FEMA P-154 & ATC-20 Training set for this October
August 2016 - CUSEC and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are presenting a FREE training opportunity this October in Memphis, Tennessee.  The training will include FEMA P-154: Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards (pre-event) and ATC-20: Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluations of Buildings (post-event). The training is targeted to b
uilding officials, engineers, architects, building owners, facility managers, emergency managers, risk analysts, and others interested in building inventory and safety assessments from a seismic perspective.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP), the training is free and open to the public.  Participants must pre-register for the training by September 30, 2016.  Registration is available online at

Longstanding CUSEC Board Member Retires
July 2016 - June 30, 2016 marked the retirement of longstanding CUSEC Board of Directors Meber and current Vice-Chairman, Mr. David Maxwell.  Director Maxwell has served the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) in several functions for more than 37 years, starting as a temporary employee in 1978 and as State Director for the last 10 years.  He also serves as State Homeland Security Advisor and is on numerous boards and committees within the State, including the Arkansas Governor's Earthquake Advisory Council.  Since his appointment to State Director in 2006, Director Maxwell has served as an officer of the CUSEC Board of Directors.  Maxwell is also a past president of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), and chaired several NEMA Committees over the years. 

In 2015 NEMA presented Director Maxwell with the Lacy E. Suiter Distinguished Service Award, named in honor of the former Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director, a pioneer of emergency management and founding member of the CUSEC Board of Directors.  Both Maxwell and Suiter played active roles in CUSEC's early formation and success.  The award is presented annually by NEMA to an individual that has made cumulative outstanding contributions to the field of emergency management. CUSEC would like to thank Director Maxwell for nearly four decades of commitment to improving all aspects of emergency management preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery, and we wish him the best during his retirement from public service.

In late May, Mr. A.J. Gary, former Chief of Police for the Conway Police Department, was appointed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison as the new director of (ADEM). Please join us in welcoming Mr. Gary to the CUSEC Board of Directors.

CUSEC Participates in Public Health Preparedness Summit
June 2016 - On June 22-23, 2016 CUSEC participated in the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) 2016 Integrated Public Health and Healthcare System Preparedness Summit.  The summit was held in Schaumburg, Illinois with more than 650 public health and healthcare professionals attending. The focus of the summit was improving public health preparedness, response, and recovery to disasters in Illinois.

With funding support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Motorola Solutions Foundation, CUSEC presented in several sessions during the summit. During the opening plenary session, CUSEC gave an overview of central U.S. earthquake hazards, potential impacts from a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake, and lessons learned from past earthquakes such as the 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake.  On the afternoon of June 22, CUSEC led a breakout session on earthquake mitigation and safety for hospital and healthcare facilities, including ways to identify and reduce losses from future earthquakes according to FEMA's Incremental Seismic Rehabilitation of Hospitals methodology.  We also participated in a breakout session with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Earthquake Program Manager, Jason Williams, on integrated response and recovery following an earthquake or other disaster. 

CUSEC would like to thank IDPH and IPHA for inviting us to participate in the conference, which drew near-record participation from public health and healthcare system professionals across Illinois. 

New TEMA Director Appointed by Governor Bill Haslam
May 2016 - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointment of Patrick Sheehan as director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). Sheehan takes over the director position from David Purkey, who returns to the singular position of homeland security advisor and assistant commissioner of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security after serving in dual roles for the past two years.

Sheehan is currently the operations administrator for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. He has led Ohio’s Emergency Operations Center and the Radiological and Preparedness Branches since 2014, and held several leadership positions in the since joining the agency in 2004.  Ohio is a CUSEC Associate Member State.

“Patrick was the top candidate in a nationwide search for a director to lead the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. His experience coordinating the responses to several serious statewide emergencies in Ohio is impressive and he will use those skills to help Tennesseans during times of crisis,” Haslam said. I am honored by this opportunity and excited to serve the people of Tennessee,” Sheehan said. “TEMA has a great national reputation, and I look forward to working with the TEMA team and Tennessee’s county EMA directors to prepare for, respond to and recover from all disasters.”

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Sheehan and welcoming him to the CUSEC Board of Directors.  We also thank Assistant Commissioner Purkey for his service to CUSEC as he returns to his post in Homeland Security.

February is Earthquake Awareness Month
February 2016 - As earthquakes continue to occur on a daily basis in the central U.S., CUSEC and emergency management officials in Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri remind citizens and communities about the earthquake risk by designating February as Earthquake Awareness Month.

The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) is working to promote earthquake preparedness among its residents. ADEM is hosting several events including an ATC-20 Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings training in Jonesboro on February 11, a Governor's Earthquake Advisory Council Meeting on February 12 in Walnut Ridge, and a DIY Earthquake Preparedness workshop later in the month.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) will observe Earthquake Awareness Month by hosting various activities throughout the State. Missouri has one of the longest-standing Earthquake Awareness Month programs in the nation. Activities planned for the month include Missouri Seismic Safety Commission Meetings, S.A.V.E. Coalition Building Inspector Trainings,Safety and Preparedness presentations, and more.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is also designating February as Earthquake Awareness Month, reminding citizens to take measures to prepare and mitigate against earthquakes before the next big one strikes. 

While scientists say that there is only a 7-10% probability of a re-occurrence of the 1811-12 earthquakes within any 50-year window, they also estimate that there is a 25-40% probability of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the same period of time.  About 200 earthquakes occur in the central U.S. every year-many of which go unnoticed.  And while the primary focus remains on the NMSZ, it is not our only area of concern.  Earthquakes are also occurring along the Wabash Valley and EastTennessee Seismic Zones and in Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas.

Registration Open for National Earthquake Conference
December 2015 - Registration is now open for the 2016 National Earthquake Conference (NEC), scheduled for May 4-6, 2016 in Long Beach, California.  The quadrennial NEC brings together hundreds of geoscientists, engineers, insurance regulators, building officials and emergency management professionals to discuss advancements in earthquake hazards, mitigation, preparedness and education. The 2016 conference will focus on advancements since the 2012 and build a national strategy for earthquake risk reduction and resilience. 

The 2016 NEC is being coordinated by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), in partnership with the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW), CUSEC, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Northeastern States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), US Geological Survey (USGS), and the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC). CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson serves on the executive planning committee for the conference.

Registration, agenda, and hotel information are available online at

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Again Billed as a Success
October 2015 – On October 15, CUSEC and our Member and Associate States participated once again in the Great Central U.S. and SouthEast ShakeOut regional earthquake drills. The drills, which started in 2011 and 2012 respectively, engaged more than 5.5 million participants in 2015.  Nationwide, over 43.5 million people will participate in some ShakeOut-related drill or activity during the calendar year.

As part of the ShakeOut, CUSEC participated in two events in St. Louis, Missouri.  The first was a multi-state building inspector exercise and training event held at Jefferson Barracks. The event was hosted by the Missouri S.A.V.E. Coalition, a volunteer organization that works under the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency to inspect buildings for safe occupancy following a disaster.  At the event, close to 200 individuals participated in simulated deployment and field assessments. CUSEC debuted a new “Safety Assessment App” at the training. The app, which is smart-phone or tablet based, is designed to speed data collection for post-earthquake safety assessments and improve situational awareness for decision makers.  Eight CUSEC States, the Missouri Air National Guard, Missouri Department of Transportation, and the Army Corp of Engineers participated in the event, which was the largest of its kind to date.

The second event, hosted by the St. Louis Science Center, was called “Rock, Fossil, Quake”.  Organized by Senior Science Educator Brian Thomas, “Rock, Fossil, Quake” brought a slate of exhibitors, activities, and presentations to Science Center visitors, each with either a geology, paleontology/archaeology, or earthquake focus.  CUSEC presented the QuakeCatcher Network, which is being installed in schools, museums, and other places in the region.  Other earthquake-themed exhibitors and presenters included the US Geological Survey, the University of Missouri, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the New Madrid Historical Museum, and the Bootheel Youth Museum, who put on a special presentation of their skit, the “Three Little Pigs and their Cousin Shaken Bacon”.  The event was one of the first collaborative efforts under the CUSEC EPIcenter program, which links together museums, science centers, libraries, and other free-choice learning institutions to partner to improve earthquake education in their communities.

CUSEC GIS/IT Working Group Recognized with FEMA Award for Technological Innovation
September 2015 - CUSEC is honored to announce that our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Information Technology (IT) Working Group is the recipient of the 2015 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness (ICPD) Award, Technological Innovation category. The award is based on the GIS/IT innovations leading up to and during CAPSTONE-14, a multi-year planning and exercise initiative involving the CUSEC Member and Associate States, the Federal Government, and Private Sector.  During CAPSTONE-14, the Working Group created data sharing models and tools for decision makers for situational awareness before and during disasters.
These systems have since become national models of excellence and were a test-bed to lay the foundation for future improvements for expanding regional and national shared situational awareness for emergency management and first responders.

The annual ICPD awards program recognizes outstanding efforts of individuals, programs, and organizations throughout the country working to prepare their communities for emergencies.  The winners developed innovative practices and campaigns in 2014 that have made outstanding contributions toward making communities safer,better prepared, and more resilient.  According to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, "“Effective emergency management requires commitment, teamwork, and engagement by the entire community before disasters occur. I congratulate the individuals and organizations that embody these ideals. Through their hard work and dedication, they are making our nation stronger and safer."

CUSEC will join ten other award recipients who will be recognized by FEMA on September 8, 2015 in Washington, D.C. During the recognition ceremony, recipients will share their experiences, success stories, and lessons learned with fellow emergency management leaders. Including CUSEC's GIS/IT Working Group, CUSEC Member State Alabama's Be Ready program also received an award for their "Alabama Be Ready Camp".

We would like to congratulate all award winners and program applicants and recognize their contributions to improving community preparedness.  For more information on the 2015 ICPD  Awards, please see the official FEMA Press Release.

Iowa, Louisiana, and Nebraska Participating in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut
August 2015 - With just two months until the 2015 Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are set to occur, the states of Iowa, Louisiana, and Nebraska are now official participants in the regional effort known as the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. Schools, businesses, individuals and organizations in communities within these states can now register to participate in the earthquake drill and be counted along with other CUSEC Member and Associate States.

The ShakeOut, scheduled for October 15, 2015 at 10:15 local time, occurs annually on the third Thursday in October, and occurs in states throughout the nation and several countries around the world.  ShakeOut participants are encouraged to hold earthquake drills, make plans to be prepared for earthquakes and other disasters, and take action to mitigate against earthquake damage.  Nearly 26.5 million people participated in the event in 2014, which is linked with FEMA's America's PrepareAthon! individual and community preparedness campaign.

Registration and information on how to hold an earthquake drill can be found on the ShakeOut website at

CUSEC Receives Investment in GIS from Delta Regional Authority
July 2015 - CUSEC is pleased to announce a recent grant from the Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership created by Congress to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. 

Through this grant and investment in the region, CUSEC and our Member States will create the first regional Geographical Information System (GIS) in the CUSEC region, as part of our mission to reduce earthquake-related deaths, injuries, property damage and economic losses. GIS is an information system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. With the use of this GIS system, emergency management officials will have the ability to share information and achieve situational awareness across the entire region.

This system will speed States' ability for disaster response and recovery efforts as well as improving overall disaster preparedness from an emergency management perspective. “One of our highest priorities in this region is to ensure that our communities, businesses, and families are ready to bounce back economically from a natural disaster,” said Chris Masingill, Federal Co-Chairman of the DRA. “The disaster preparedness and mitigation capabilities that CUSEC and this regional GIS is bringing to Delta states will make our communities more resilient and more competitive for future economic growth.

The regional GIS initiative follows a successful test and implementation of several GIS advancements during the CAPSTONE-14 exercise in 2014.  Current GIS improvements are slated to continue through 2016 and 2017.  For more information on the Delta Regional Authority, please visit their website at

Quake Catcher Network comes to the Central U.S.
June 2015 - In June, Robert de Groot, Ph.D, of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) came to the central U.S. to facilitate an initial deployment of the "Quake Catcher Network" or QCN.  QCN is a network of low-cost seismometers installed on personal computers that transmit earthquake shaking information to servers in California. The deployment is a pilot in the central U.S., and is an extension of the EPIcenter program, which provides resources and learning tools to public information centers such as museums, science centers, and other free-choice learning institutions.  In all, twelve QCN seismometers were installed in Blytheville, Arkansas, Malden, Missouri, Tiptonville and Ridgely, Tennessee, and DeSoto County Mississippi.  Once in place the seismometers not only record earthquake shaking, but can be used to demonstrate how earthquakes are measured and recorded through a "QCN Live" demonstration software.

Currently, QCN devices are deployed worldwide through a cooperative program at Stanford University.  In the coming months QCN is transitioning to a collaborative management approach between CalTech, SCEC, and IRIS, the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology.

After a review of the initial deployment, CUSEC intends to reach out to other communities in states throughout the central U.S. to join the Quake Catcher Network and improve the understanding and translation of earthquakes and earth science.  For more information, visit

CUSEC Participates in National Earthquake Program Manager's Meeting
May 2015 - CUSEC, along with the Northeastern States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and more than 25 States and Territories, participated in the 2015 National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting May 5-8, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.  The annual meeting allows State Emergency Management Earthquake Program Managers to interact and share ideas, as well as hear about lessons learned following recent earthquakes, receive new training, and work to strengthen the Nation's resilience against earthquakes under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).  NEHRP Secretariat Mr. Jack Hayes addressed the group at the beginning of the meeting.

During the meeting, CUSEC presented special recognition awards to several senior Earthquake Program Managers who have contributed to earthquake risk reduction over the last two decades.  These individuals include Mr. Douglas Bausch (FEMA), Mr. Bob Carey (Utah), Mr. Mike Mahoney (FEMA), Ms. Tammie D. Wells (South Carolina), and Mr. Cecil Whaley (Tennessee). 

Also at the meeting were NEHRP partners the Applied Technology Council, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), and the US Geological Survey (USGS).  Meeting notes and proceedings will be posted on as they become available following the meeting.

FEMA and ATC to Host Earthquake Webinars in April
April 2015 - As part of its 2015 Webinar Program, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) will host two earthquake-related training webinars in the month of April based on FEMA Publications 50 & 50-1 as well as FEMA Publication 74. Each of these publications focus on the importance of applying sound building techniques and mitigation practices to new and existing structures to help reduce deaths, injuries, damages and property loss in the event of a damaging earthquake. Information about these two training webinars is as follows:

FEMA 50 & 50-1:  Simplified Seismic Assessment and Retrofit Guidelines for Detach, Single-Family, Wood-Frame Dwellings
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Pacific
Registration Fee: Free
1,000 registrations (sites) maximum

FEMA E-74:  Reducing the Risks of Nonstructual Earthquake Damage - A Practical Guide
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Pacific
Registration Fee: Free
1,000 registrations (sites) maximum

You can register and find out more information about these two webinars at

CUSEC Receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Grant
March 2015 - CUSEC is pleased to announce that it has recently received a “Public Safety Grant” from the Motorola Solutions Foundation (MSF), the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, CUSEC will continue to educate the general public around the central U.S. region about earthquake preparedness through events such as the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut; as well as provide new tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and continued training for emergency managers and responders.

The Public Safety Grant program supports organizations that provide training to first responders, supports the families of fallen first responders, or educates the general public on safety issues.   “As a small non-profit organization, we are heavily dependent on grants and outside contributions to help CUSEC carry out its mission,” said Jim Wilkinson, CUSEC Executive Director. “I’m thrilled to have received the grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation; these funds will go a long way to helping us leverage our limited resources as we work throughout our communities,” he added.
For additional information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants programs, visit

February is Earthquake Awareness Month
February 2015 - As earthquakes continue to occur on a daily basis in the central U.S., CUSEC and emergency management officials in Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri remind citizens and communities about the earthquake risk by designating February as Earthquake Awareness Month.

The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) is also working to promote earthquake preparedness among its residents. ADEM is observing Earthquake Awareness Week from February 8-14, and will offer several training opportunities. These include ATC-20 Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings training (in Russellville, Pine Bluff, and Jacksonville) and a FEMA P-767 Hospital Mitigation Training in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) will observe Earthquake Awareness Month by hosting various activities throughout the State. Missouri has one of the longest-standing Earthquake Awareness Month programs in the Nation. Activities planned for the month include Missouri Seismic Safety Commission Meetings, S.A.V.E. Coalition Building Inspector Trainings, Safety and Preparedness Fairs, and more.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is also designating February as Earthquake Awareness Month, reminding citizens to take measures to prepare and mitigate against earthquakes before the next big one strikes. 

While scientists say that there is only a 7-10% probability of a re-occurrence of the 1811-12 earthquakes within any 50-year window, they also estimate that there is a 25-40% probability of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the same period of time.  About 200 earthquakes occur in the central U.S. every year-many of which go unnoticed.  And while the primary focus remains on the NMSZ, it is not our only area of concern.  Earthquakes are also occurring along the Wabash Valley and East Tennessee Seismic Zones and in Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, and Texas.

CAPSTONE-14 After-Action Report Released by CUSEC and DHS S&T
January 2015 - Following the CAPSTONE-14 exercise in June of this year, CUSEC has completed an exercise "After-Action Report" (AAR).  The report highlights lessons learned and successes from three years of multi-state planning and preparedness activities coordinated by CUSEC and our Member States. It also highlights recommendations that are critical to advancing earthquake preparedness in the central U.S.  The report, lessons learned, and recommendations can all be reviewed by downloading the AAR from:

In addition to CUSEC's report, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate has released an After-Action Report.  This document summarizes the Federal Governments role in the exercise, lessons learned, as well as several "operational leave-behinds" from the exercise.  These leave-behinds were developed during (or for) the CAPSTONE-14 exercise and have been implemented in several CUSEC Member States following the exercise.  You can download the DHS S&T AAR from:

As we work to address the recommendations in the AAR, CUSEC would like to thank the many individuals, Local, State, and Federal Government organizations, and private sector partners who participated in the development and implementation of CAPSTONE-14.  Their input and active participation in the years leading up to the exercise were the primary factor in making it a success.  Please continue to monitor the CUSEC Website and our newsletter for updates on earthquake planning and preparedness initiatives in the central U.S.

Donate to CUSEC on the Combined Federal Campaign
November 2014 - CUSEC is now a registered charitable organization in the Federal Government's "Combined Federal Campaign" (CFC).   CUSEC makes it possible for individuals and communities to prepare for and recover from damaging earthquakes. You can make it possible, too, by designating us through the CFC, which is September 1st through December 15th. Donations can be made through your local campaign or in the Universal Giving program.  Our designation number is 55519.

Your tax deductible donation through the CFC will provide quality training and resources for public safety officials, first responders, volunteers, and the general public. Please see your local campaign coordinator for pledge materials and details. 

CFC Designations can be made now through December 15, 2014.  Thank you for your support of earthquake and disaster preparedness!

Nearly 5 Million Participate in Regional Earthquake Drill
October 2014 - On October 16 at 10:16 a.m., nearly 4.8 million people across 19 States and the District of Columbia participated in the Great Central U.S. and Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.  The regional ShakeOut drills are part of a global effort to teach people how to stay safe during an earthquake.

This action—known as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”—is the safest response while the ground is shaking during an earthquake, and is endorsed by the CUSEC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), American Red Cross, and other emergency officials and first responders.  ShakeOut participants included K-12 schools, businesses, neighborhood groups, colleges and universities, government organizations, and many other groups.  Also, several Governors of participating States issued statements proclaiming Oct. 16 as “Great ShakeOut Day” in their States. Including Thursday’s regional drills, more than 20 million people nationwide (and several other countries) participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

According to CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson, “Everyone everywhere should know how to protect themselves during an earthquake.  Even if an individual doesn’t live in an area with a high earthquake hazard, they may one day travel to such an area and need to be prepared.  ShakeOut provides a dedicated time for individuals and communities to take a few minutes out of their day-to-day activities to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On—an action that one day may save their lives.”  Wilkinson also adds that “Involving the ‘whole community’ is a major focus for us and we sincerely appreciate the dedication our partners have shown as they’ve worked tirelessly to make the ShakeOut a big success.”

The ShakeOut occurs annually on the third Thursday of October with the next drill scheduled for October 15, 2015 at 10:15AM, local time.  For more information, visit

September is National Preparedness Month, Great ShakeOut set for October 16
September 2014 - Since 2004, FEMA has designated the month of September as National Preparedness Month (#NatlPrep). Now is a great time to prepare yourself and those in your care for earthquakes and other disasters. The most important step you can take prior to a disaster is to be ready to take care of yourself before the next one occurs.

Following National Preparedness Month, individuals and communities in more than 45 States and Territories will participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. Now held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.* During the self-led drill, participants practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On".  Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the proper response to an earthquake is to:

      - Drop to the ground
      - Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck and,
      - Hold On until the shaking stops

    CUSEC, with our Member and Associate States, coordinates regional activities for the Great Central U.S. and Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. Oct. 16 marks the fifth Central U.S. ShakeOut drill taking place in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The SouthEast ShakeOut, now in its third year, includes Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

    We encourage all of our newsletter subscribers to participate in this unique preparedness activity. To get started or to pledge your participation in the ShakeOut, please visit

    Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appoints Mr. David Purkey as TEMA Director
    August 2014 - In late August, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced the appointment of David W. Purkey as the State Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). Purkey has served as interim director of TEMA since the April retirement of Jim Bassham, former CUSEC Board Chairman. Mr. Purkey has held a variety of public safety and emergency management positions including serving as Morristown-Hamblen County Emergency Management Director, Tennessee State Trooper, and a Special Agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Chattanooga region. He has been a licensed emergency medical technician for 35 years and also served in the Tennessee Army National Guard and United States Army Reserves.  Mr. Purkey will continue to serve as the Governor's Homeland Security Advisor and Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.  Haslam also reappointed Purkey to the Tennessee Medical Examiner Advisory Council.

    Please join CUSEC in welcoming Mr. Purkey to the Board of Directors and congratulating him on his appointment as Director of TEMA.

    DHS First Responder Group to Host Webinar on CAPSTONE-14 Technology Lessons Learned
    July 2014 - 450 counties in seven states shared over 13,000 reports of “essential elements of information” and 2,000 data layers with 2,500 people participating in the massive CAPSTONE-14 disaster exercise, led by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and emergency management directors of eight member states. A webinar on July 24 @ 1pm ET will feature presentations by key exercise players from Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri and CUSEC. Webinar attendees will learn how to apply several successes and lessons learned to build capabilities for information sharing, situational awareness, and resource management.

    The webinar is titled Applying Technologies to Enable Effective Decision-Making: Lessons Learned from CUSEC’s CAPSTONE-14 Earthquake Exercise and is part of the First Responders Group Capacity Building Webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the National Information Sharing Consortium. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits earned by participating in the event can be applied to the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and Geographic Information Specialist Professional (GISP) certifications. Pre-registration is not required. Login as a guest at or go to to learn more.

    CAPSTONE-14 Multi-State Exercsie is June16-20
    June 2014 - Next week, CUSEC Member, Associate, and supporting States will participate in CAPSTONE-14, a regional, multi-state exercise designed to test response and recovery capabilities following a major New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) earthquake.

    In direct support of Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD8), CAPSTONE-14 is the culmination of three years of planning and preparedness activities led by the CUSEC Board of Directors. It follows and builds upon lessons learned during the NMSZ Catastrophic Planning Initiative and National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE11), completing the full emergency management planning, training, and exercise cycle.  CAPSTONE-14  also serves as a regional and national model to the emergency management community by incorporating new technologies such as the Mutual Aid Support System (MASS), the Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (vBEOC), a regional Common Operating Picture (COP), and more. 

    The National Information Sharing Consortium is working with the Dept. of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to host a "Virtual VIP Day" during CAPSTONE-14.  VIP Day will last from 9:30AM to Noon Central Daylight Time.  To access it, visit on the designated date and time.  For more information on CAPSTONE-14 you can also visit the CAPSTONE-14 "portal" on the CUSEC website, where we have several pages of exercise-related information, notes, and archives.

    Kentucky Governor Appoints new State Director
    May 2014 - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has appointed Michael Dossett as Director of Kentucky Emergency Management, effective June 1, 2014.  with his appointment as Emergency Management Director, Mr. Dossett will also serve as a member of the CUSEC Board of Directors.

    "Michael Dossett is the right man at the right time for this job," said Gov. Beshear.  "Kentucky's emergency management team has a proven track record, putting it among the best in the nation.  I have full confidence that, under Mike's leadership, the safety and welfare of citizens of the Commonwealth are in good hands."

    Mr. Dossett served as KYEM's Resource Management Logistics Chief and Regional Response Manager from 2009 - 2013.  As Director, Mr. Dossett will plan and direct disaster response and crisis management activities, provide disaster preparedness training, and prepare emergency plans and procedures for natural and man-made disasters within the Commonwealth.  Prior to working for KYEM, Mr. Dossett served as the Deputy Commissioner for Kentucky's Department of Juvenile Justice as an Assistant Chief of Police for Louisville Metro Police Department.

    FEMA Building Science Branch Releases 2013 Report
    April 2014 - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released their Building Science Branch: Fiscal Year 2013 in Review report. The Building Science Branch, which resides in the Risk Reduction Division of FEMA's Federal Insurance Mitigation Administration (FIMA), is staffed by highly skilled national experts on building codes, proper construction techniques, and rebuilding strategies. The Branch has the lead role in the development, production, and promotion of more than 250 resources that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes, seismic design guidelines, floodproofing, wind design, and other natural and man-made hazards requirements for new construction and the repair of existing buildings. These resources include publications, guidance, tools, training courses, outreach materials, technical bulletins, and recovery advisories.

    The Building Science Branch and its partners, including CUSEC, help implement, support, and promote earthquake risk reduction through the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).  To view or download the full report, visit the FEMA Library website:

    To view or download FEMA NEHRP publications and products, visit the Earthquake Publications website:

    USGS Announces 2015 Earthquake Research Grant Program
    March 2014 - The US Geological Survey recently announced they will award up to $5 million in grants for earthquake hazards research in 2015.  “The grants offered through the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program are an established and long-standing effort that have proven to be a success every year, with talented, scientific applicants who significantly contribute to the advancement of earthquake research,” said Bill Leith, USGS Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards. “Every year we are rewarded by innovative proposals from across the country, so we encourage the continued submission of new ideas to help earthquake science evolve and, ultimately, reduce earthquake losses.”

    Each year the USGS awards earthquake hazards research grants to universities, state geological surveys, and private institutions. Past projects included investigating the Central Virginia Seismic Zone to develop a better understanding of this active seismic zone; examining the paleoseismic record in the Prince William Sound area of Alaska to characterize earthquakes prior to the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 to better understand future earthquakes in this hazard-prone area; and using GPS to measure ground deformation in the greater Las Vegas area and provide information on how faults will rupture in large, damaging earthquakes.

    Interested researchers can apply online at GRANTS.GOV under funding opportunity number G14AS00036. Applications are due May 22, 2014.

    February is Earthquake Awareness Month

    February 2014 - Each February, several States in the Central U.S., including Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, regularly observe "Earthquake Awareness Month".  For more than 20 years, Earthquake Awareness Month has provided an opportunity to increase public knowledge of earthquake hazards and earthquake preparedness measures. Activities during the month typically include earthquake themed exhibits, public service announcements, specialized training, public workshops and presentations, social media outreach, and more.

    Also, CUSEC recently partnered with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden, Missouri to produce a short video on earthquake preparedness for K-3 students.  The video is based on an adaptation of the children's classic story "The Three Little Pigs" and was created by the Museum as a way to teach children about the possibility of earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and ways to prepare for those earthquakes. The skit was filmed in mid-2013 and is intended to be used as a teaching tool during the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut and Earthquake Awareness Month.  To watch the video, go to
    Threat of Earthquakes in the Central U.S. Remains
    January 2014 - According to a recent study published in "Science" by U.S. Geological Survey seismologists Morgan Page and Susan Hough, the threat of New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquakes remain unchanged.  Their study looked at whether current seismic activity in the region could be aftershocks from the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquake sequence or a result of current tectonic activity, a theory which has been debated by scientists and seismologists for the past several years.  

    In their study, Page and Hough conclude that current earthquakes are not aftershocks from the 1811-12 earthquakes, but from build-up of stress caused by ongoing tectonic processes.  The computer modeling the scientists used to test the "aftershock hypothesis" has confirmed what other scientists and seismologists have long held consensus on -- the New Madrid Seismic Zone is not dead

    For more on this study, see the official USGS media release at

    CUSEC Hosts Earthquake Experts from New Zealand
    November 2013 - With support from the USGS, a delegation of eight individuals (representing geologic, engineering, and emergency management disciplines) visited Tennessee from New Zealand on an international, information sharing mission this October.  As part of their visit, the group met with local and regional officials to share lessons learned since the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and aftershocks.  Those earthquakes, including a damaging M6.3 event, have had a major impact on New Zealand's population, economy, and infrastructure.  The New Zealand group joined officials from CUSEC, the Center for Earthquake Research & Information, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and the USGS over several days to:

      - Participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Earthquake Drill
      - Provide keynote presentations at an earthquake-focused public forum
      - Discuss advanced urban search and rescue practices with the Tennessee Task Force One
      - Join a CUSEC-led mitigation field trip to learn more about existing seismic risk and steps that have been taken to reduce the risk

    Also, the Center for Earthquake Research & Information arranged an informal "workshop" between the New Zealanders and Memphis Heritage.  At the workshop, the main topic of discussion was earthquake implications for older and historic buildings.  New Zealand, like many communities in the central U.S., has a large number of old, unreinforced masonry that are built without seismic considerations and subsequently heavily damaged during the Christchurch earthquakes.  The consensus of the workshop was that there is much work to be done to protect historic structures from disaster; including earthquakes.

    CUSEC would like to thank our New Zealand friends for the time spent with us to provide their insight as we advance our plans to strengthen community resiliency toward disasters.  We would also like to thank the USGS, who provided travel and logistical support to make this opportunity possible.

    CUSEC and South Carolina collaborate on Hospital Mitigation Outreach
    October 2013 - CUSEC, working with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), recently provided an informational presentation on earthquake mitigation for hospitals to the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA), Emergency Managers' Society in Columbia, South Carolina.  Although South Carolina (a CUSEC Associate Member State) has a moderate to high earthquake risk, this was the first time in several years that SCHA has focused on earthquake hazards at their annual conference. 

    During the presentation CUSEC and SCEMD discussed ways in which hospitals can be more prepared for earthquakes, particularly by using methods outlined in FEMA's "Incremental Seismic Rehabilitation of Hospital Buildings (FEMA 396)" and the "Earthquake Mitigation for Hospitals Workshop (FEMA P-767)".  Both programs are a result of the FEMA Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration's (FIMA) initiative to improve understanding and implementation of earthquake mitigation under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction (NEHRP) program. 

    CUSEC would like to thank the South Carolina Hospital Association for their proactive efforts to educate their members about earthquake risk reduction.

    CUSEC and FEMA to host Earthquake Public Forum in Memphis, TN
    September 2013 - The Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and several local, national, and international disaster experts, will host a free public forum, Building Resiliency in the Face of the Earthquake Risk, from 1:30p.m. to 5:30p.m. on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at the Michael D. Rose Theatre on the University of Memphis main campus. 

    The purpose of this event is to help increase public understanding of potential impacts that citizens, businesses, and communities in the region may face from earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).  Professionals with expertise in earthquake hazards, disaster preparedness, building design, and emergency management will present information on building community resiliency to limit injuries, deaths, and economic losses from earthquakes.  Participants will also learn about short- and long-term earthquake recovery challenges from experts in New Zealand, where a devastating earthquake sequence struck Christchurch in 2010 and 2011.

    This forum is being presented in partnership between CUSEC and the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH ®), FEMA, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), the Shelby County Office of Preparedness Homeland Security/Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the West TN Structural Engineers Association (WTSEA). 

    For more information, see

    ShakeOut Just Two Months Away
    August 2013 - In less than two months, individuals and communities throughout the central and eastern U.S. will participate in Great Central U.S. and Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake safety drills.  Now held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.  During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”.  As a linked event to FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, ShakeOut is billed as a national “Whole Community Day of Action”, where more than 40 states and territories will participate in earthquake safety activities.  More than 12 million people are expected to participate in ShakeOut drills nationwide.  In addition to safety drills, many participant take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes.

    Additionally, ShakeOut comes on the heels of the two year anniversary of the damaging August 23, 2011 M5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake which caused considerable damage in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.  Several national landmarks, including the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Cathedral are undergoing multi-year restorations as a result of this earthquake.  

    The goal of the program is to engage participants to take steps to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.  The drill is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups.  ShakeOut originated in California in 2008 and has expanded each year since then.  To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to sign up to participate in the drill by visiting  Once registered, participants receive information about showcase events in their area and regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

    CUSEC and FEMA to host ROVER Webinar - July 31, 2013
    June 2013 - I
    n partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CUSEC is pleased to announce a FREE, one-hour webinar on the practical use of FEMA’s open-source ROVER building inventory and assessment tool. 

    ROVER, or Rapid Observation and Visual Evaluation of Risk, is a fast, free, mobile software tool for pre- and post-earthquake building safety screening.  It allows building owners, communities, and professionals to collect building inventory information and identify earthquake mitigation and post-earthquake inspection priorities.  ROVER software incorporates the internationally recognized standards of FEMA 154:  Rapid Visual Screening for Potential Seismic Hazards and ATC-20: Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings.

    This free webinar will take place on July 31, 2013 at 10:00AM CDT.  To learn how you can participate, click here.

    EERI & NEES Deadline for Abstracts approaching
    May 2013 - The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) has invited prospective authors to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words for its Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering to be held on July 21-25, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska. With its theme of “Frontiers of Earthquake Engineering,” this upcoming conference is the 50th anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami, and will provide a unique environment for (student) researchers and professionals from a broad range of disciplines to share the latest knowledge and techniques to mitigate the devastating effects of earthquakes and tsunamis.

    Information about the abstract selection criteria, technical program topic areas and the paper acceptance schedule is located at Prospective authors should submit their abstracts to by June 15, 2013. This conference is being organized by EERI in collaboration with the George E. Brown, Jr., Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). For more information about the Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, visit

    Get Your Home Ready for Earthquakes Webinar Announced
    May 2013 - In partnership with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CUSEC is holding a FREE informational webinar, "Get Your Home Ready for Earthquakes", on May 30, 2013 at 10:00AM CDT.  During the webinar, participants will learn more about protecting themselves and their homes against earthquake damage. 

    Click here to find out more and learn how to register for this webinar.  Space is limited so you will need to RSVP by May 24, 2013.  

    Great Central U.S. ShakeOut to Moves to October
    April 2013 - The next Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill will take place on October 17, 2013 at 10:17a.m.  Since 2012, the ShakeOut has been held on February 7th.  Although highly visible and successful, this has been out of sync with a larger, national ShakeOut effort that takes place annually on the third Thursday of October.  In 2012, 16 states and British Columbia participated in an October 18 ShakeOut.

    To maximize the effectiveness of the ShakeOut, the CUSEC Board of Directors has elected to permanently move the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut to the third Thursday of October beginning this year.  This will align us with a national initiative involving 30 states and territories where nearly 20 million people will practice earthquake safety and disaster preparedness activities. 

    We encourage you to mark your calendar for October 17, 2013 and register today on the ShakeOut website, so you can join millions of others across the nation in the next Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we post occasional updates and safety tips.  Thank you for your continued commitment to earthquake and disaster preparedness.

    Poster Contest Winners Announced in Missouri
    March 2013 - The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency announces elementary school students from Sikeston and Cuba are the winners of the "Show-Me ShakeOut" Poster Contest, Missouri's statewide earthquake awareness poster contest. Fourth-grader Chloe Apurado, third-grader Vincent Kleuppel, both students at Saint Francis Xavier School in Sikeston, and fifth-grader Haylee Wright, of Cuba Middle School in Cuba, took the top prizes in their grades for their posters showing the best way for people to protect themselves in an earthquake. The students will be recognized during award presentations at their schools on Tuesday, March 12.

    SEMA and the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission sponsored the "Show-Me ShakeOut" Poster Contest to promote the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, a nine-state earthquake drill that was held Feb. 7. More than 575,000 Missourians were among more than 2.9 million people that participated throughout the region. February is also earthquake awareness month in Missouri, and Feb. 7 was the 201st anniversary of the Great New Madrid Quake of 1812, the largest ever to strike the region.  For more information about the contest, contact Steve Besemer, Missouri Earthquake Program Manager, at (573) 526-9232.

    Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Leads Successful Communication Exercise
    February 2013 - CUSEC States, led by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), conducted a communications exercise. This one-day exercise was designed to test TEMA’s ability to communicate with other CUSEC Member States and other agencies in the aftermath of a moderate to major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).  Communications is one of the major focal points for the CAPSTONE-14 multi-state exercise scheduled for June 2014.  The February communications exercise tested HF Voice Communications and the Winlink 2000 Radio Email System.  

    “This was the most interoperable communications exercise any of us have witnessed to date,” said Steve Waterman, Winlink 2000 Network Administrator.  “Amateur Radio, the three branches of the Military Auxiliary Radio System and other auxiliary communications volunteers worked side by side with agencies of all levels including non-governmental organizations such as: AT&T, FedEx, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the Red Cross and the Bridgestone Emergency Response Team.  For an eight-state exercise in four FEMA regions, it went perfectly,” he added.  

    TEMA’s Chief of Communications, David Wolfe echoed Waterman’s comments, and based on the success of this exercise, the agency plans to test their emergency communication capabilities more often. “We received many responses requesting that we conduct this exercise once a Quarter,” said Wolfe. 

    Congratulations to TEMA and the rest of the CUSEC Member States for conducting a successful exercise.  

    Building Code Toolkit for Property Owners now available
    February 2013 - The FEMA Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch is pleased to announce the newly developed Building Codes Toolkit - a central online page that will help individuals and communities understand building codes, their value to occupant safety and community resilience, and the FEMA tools and resources available to a variety of audiences.

    Strong building codes and proper construction practices are two of the best strategies individuals, organizations, and communities can have to ensure occupant safety, protection of local tax base, continuity of essential services, and support more rapid recovery from disasters.

    For more information on available FEMA building codes and construction standards and guidance, please visit:

    February is Earthquake Awareness Month
    January 2013 - 201 years ago, on January 23, a major earthquake struck the central United States near New Madrid, Missouri.  The second in a series of at least three magnitude 7.0-8.0 earthquakes, an earthquake of this size today would be felt by millions of people and cause billions of dollars in damage an eight state area.  

    Beginning in the last week of January and throughout the month of February, CUSEC and our Member States will host various activities to highlight earthquake awareness and preparedness. Activities include press conferences, seminars, workshops, Governor's proclamations, town hall meetings, exhibits and safety fairs, public service announcements, earthquake related training, and the 3rd annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut
    Visit the CUSEC calendar to learn more about the activities occurring during the Earthquake Awareness Month and beyond.

    Illinois Director Elected Chairman of the CUSEC Board of Directors
    December 2012 - This month, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Jonathon Monken was elected Chairman of the CUSEC Board of Directors.  Chairman Monken succeeds Paul Parmenter, who recently retired from public service.  Mr. Parmenter served as Director of Missouri State Emergency Management Agency since 2009.  Replacing Parmenter as Missouri SEMA Director is Donald L. King, who previously served in the Missouri Attorney General's office, and most recently in Missouri's Office of Administration. 

    CUSEC would like to thank Mr. Parmenter for his dedication and leadership as Chairman of the Board, and wish both Chairman Monken and Director King the best of luck in their new positions on the CUSEC Board of Directors.

    CAPSTONE-14 now Underway...
    December 2012 - A topic of discussion since 2011, planning for CAPSTONE-14 is now underway.   In conjunction with the Kentucky’s Governors Emergency Management Workshop, key participants of this initiative convened in Louisville, Kentucky on December 10-13, 2012. In this meeting, discussions surrounded the regional coordination of various support functions within emergency management operations that are critical to response and recovery in the event of a major earthquake. 

    CAPSTONE-14, tentatively scheduled for June 16-20, 2014, is a full-scale emergency management exercise with various levels of play by each participating state. It is in direct support of the Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD8), with key participation from: CUSEC Member States, CUSEC Associate Member States, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regions IV, V, VI and VII, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), various federal agencies’ Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and the private sector.

    One area of focus is receiving special interest from CUSEC Board Member and Kentucky’s Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) Director, Brigadier General John Heltzel.  “Advancing the national dialogue, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “We need to try to solve the problems of situational awareness among emergency management by putting out a good national model,” he added.

    For more information on CAPSTONE-14, including a calendar of CAPSTONE related events, please visit

    Minor Earthquake Rumbles Mid-South

    October 2012 - On October 29, 2012 a magnitude 3.9 earthquake shook portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi.  The earthquake was centered near Parkin, Arkansas and was the largest earthquake in the region in several years.  Damages or injuries from the earthquake have not been reported and are expected to be minimal.  If you felt the earthquake, you can log your experience on the USGS "Did You Feel It?" website.

    CUSEC Associate States Participate in 1st ever Great SouthEast ShakeOut Drill
    October 2012 - On October 18, 2012, more than 1.8 million people participated in the first ever Great SouthEast ShakeOut.  This included participants in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, who were joining Maryland and the District of Columbia in this historic earthquake preparedness campaign. During the drill, participants practiced "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", the recommended action to take when an earthquake occurs.

    The SouthEast ShakeOut occurred at the same time as other ShakeOut drills across the nation.  Drills were held in California, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, Puerto Rico, and British Columbia.  In all, more than 14.5 million people participated at various ShakeOut regions worldwide, making this the largest earthquake/safety drill ever held.  Media coverage of ShakeOut activities has been extensive and shows the broad range of drills that were held by schools, organizations, government agencies, and households.  The SouthEast ShakeOut was centrally coordinated by CUSEC, the participating State Emergency Management Agencies, FEMA, and dozens of other partners. 

    Congratulations to all ShakeOut partnering states and participants for making this drill a success and engaging millions of people in earthquake preparedness activities!

    FEMA Releases Central U.S. Survey on Preparedness
    September 2012 -The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released its "2011 FEMA Central States Disaster and Earthquake Preparedness Survey Report".  The report, which is based on a survey completed by FEMA during the New Madrid Bicentennial, 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, and NLE-2011,  provides insight into the use of hazard-specific outreach, messaging, education and training; the linkage between awareness of outreach and preparedness behaviors; and the value of using multiple channels for outreach and other activities.  

    The results of the survey are informing new outreach and research.  FEMA is incorporating these findings into the plan for the National Campaign to Build Resiliency called for under the Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness by providing more information on local risks and safety drills, and greater outreach through community organizations.  Outreach from community-based organizations and informal discussions among the public are linked with earthquake preparedness behaviors.  For more information, visit

    September is National Preparedness Month
    September 2012 - Today is September 1, which means it’s officially National Preparedness Month. Hurricane Issac, the east coast earthquake from 2011, and many other disasters have been critical reminders about the importance of individual and community preparedness. FEMA is working to engage the country by asking people to "Pledge to Prepare".  As you prepare yourself and community, we need your help to continue to get the word out about the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness.

    Jim Wilkinson, Executive Director of CUSEC, encourages the public to prepare as well.  "In the last month there have been two major earthquakes, the M7.6 in Cost Rica on September 5, and M7.6 in the Philippines on August 31st – those could have just as easily occurred here in the central U. S.  Are we ready for a damaging earthquake? Can more be done beforehand to reduce our vulnerability?  Taking an active part in National Preparedness month is a great way to get engaged and take action, because it’s a matter of when, not if, a disaster may strike."  To join the National Preparedness Month Coalition and start making a difference today visit -

    CUSEC to Lead Quake Anniversary Press Conference in Washington, D.C.
    August 2012 - In partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, the Federal Emergency Emergency Management Agency, National Park Service, and US Geological Survey, CUSEC is pleased have a leadership role in a press conference scheduled for August 23, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  The press conference will mark the one year anniversary of the earthquake that shook much of the east coast, and is reported to have been felt by nearly one third of the U.S. population.  The quake also caused at least $75 million dollars in damages in Virginia, and millions more in the surrounding states.  

    The press conference will also kick off the National Preparedness Month and Great SouthEast ShakeOut initiatives, which are designed to engage millions of people in disaster and earthquake preparedness activities.  Speaking at the press conference, will be senior government leadership officials, including the Supt. of the National Mall, Director of the US Geological Survey, Deputy and Associate Administrators of FEMA, and state government officials from Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Topics will include ongoing challenges related to the recovery following the earthquake, current knowledge of the earthquake threat, and public preparedness programs designed to protect lives and save property.  CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson will facilitate the press conference.

    The press conference, to be held at the Washington Monument, will begin at 10:30AM EDT.   All media and interested public are invited to attend. For directions and more information, read the full press release here...

    New Earthquakes Basics Class Available Online
    August 2012 - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a new web-based, independent study training course, IS-325—Earthquake Basics: Science, Risk, and Mitigation.

    This interactive, 30-minute course presents basic information on earthquake science, the risks posed by earthquakes, and the mitigation activities that individuals can take to prepare for earthquakes and increase their community’s earthquake resilience. The course also discusses the benefits of structural and non-structural earthquake mitigation. After completing the course, participants should be able to describe what causes earthquakes, differentiate between hazards and vulnerabilities, identify potential vulnerabilities in their homes and businesses, and take additional steps toward reducing their overall risk.

    Earthquake Basics is targeted to a wide range of audiences, including homeowners, business owners, the private sector, the federal, state, tribal, and local government workforce at all levels, first responders, non-profit organizations, volunteers, and community-based organizations.

    CUSEC to Coordinate Great SouthEast ShakeOut
    July 2012 - In less than three months, individuals and communities throughout five states and the District of Columbia will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, the recommended response in the event of an earthquake, during the first ever Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill on Thursday, October 18,  2012 at 10:18 a.m. EDT.

    This regional earthquake drill comes on the heels of the one year anniversary of theAugust 23, 2011 M5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake and 2012 National Preparedness Month in September. Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are encouraging their schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies, communities, and households to participate.  These states are being supported by CUSEC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and many other local, state, federal and volunteer partners. CUSEC coordinates a similar drill across nine Central U.S. states, with more than 2.4 million participants in February, 2012. 

    CUSEC is pleased to have the opportunity to serve as the central coordinating organization for this effort, and will work closely with the participating State Emergency Management agencies.  Several of the participating states are CUSEC Associate Member States.  The first ShakeOut drill was held in California in 2008, with over 5 million participants. For a history of the ShakeOut, click here.

    FEMA FY2011 NEHRP Accomplishments now Online
    July 2012 - The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently announced the release of "The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: FEMA Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2011".

    FEMA’s National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) activities are led by the FEMA Headquarters, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, in strong partnership with the FEMA Regions, the states, the four multi-state earthquake consortia, including CUSEC, and other partners. The report provides many examples of replicable state best practices, projects, and initiatives for mitigating earthquake risk and increasing the disaster resilience of our communities. Also highlighted in the report are some of the activities the earthquake consortia have been involved with over the past year.  

    NEHRP seeks to mitigate earthquake losses in the U.S. through basic and directed research and implementation activities in the fields of earthquake science and engineering. As one of the four NEHRP federal agencies, FEMA is responsible for developing effective earthquake risk reduction tools and promoting their implementation, as well as supporting the development of disaster-resistant building codes and standards. The accomplishments described in the FY 2011 report show how FEMA and its partners, working in collaboration, are continuing to make progress toward earthquake loss-reduction nationwide. Work completed in 2011 will have applications immediately or in the near term in reducing earthquake risk.

    The document is available from the FEMA Online Library in PDF Format.

    National Earthquake Conference Presentations now Online
    June 2012 - The presentations from the 2012 National Earthquake Conference and EERI Annual Meeting are now available online.  The conference was held in Memphis Tennessee on April 10-13, 2012, and was a joint effort of FEMA, the US Geological Survey, the NEHRP Consortia (CREW, CUSEC, NESEC, and WSSPC), and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. 

    CUSEC to Host Public/Private Sector Planning Workshop
    May 2012 - On August 14-16, 2012, CUSEC will host a leading edge workshop in Hoffman Estates, Illinois at Sears Holdings Corporation to enhance public and private sector coordination and communication throughout the CUSEC Member and Associate States. 

    During the workshop, a series of outcome-based breakout sessions will be conducted where public and private sector partners will work together to establish shared protocols for critical issues to include: developing a public-private common operating picture, a disaster intelligence exchange with the private sector through each state business emergency operations center (BEOC), establishing a single system for site re-entry and credentialing and prioritizing requests for resources following a disaster.  At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants will leave with a singular vision for the seamless integration of public–private preparedness, response, and recovery priorities throughout the CUSEC region.

    Information regarding the workshop, including logistical information, agenda, and web-based registration, can be found by clicking here.

    Memphis to Host National Earthquake Conference

    April 2012 -  As 2012 marks the Bicentennial of a series of strong earthquakes that struck the New Madrid Seismic Zone in late 1811 and early 1812, earthquake experts and emergency managers from around the U.S. will gather in Memphis for the National Earthquake Conference (NEC), April 10 to April 13 at the Peabody Hotel.

    “The Institute is absolutely thrilled to hold in annual meeting in Memphis this year,” said Jay Berger, executive director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).  “As the nation’s leading technical society for earthquake professionals we understand the seriousness of the seismic risk in the central US and the vulnerability of a built environment insufficient to the meet the expected intensity of shaking.  We hope that bringing our nation’s leading earthquake risk reduction experts from academia, practice and government to Memphis will encourage local planners and officials to elevate their efforts at addressing the exposure to the seismic risk.  Joining forces this year with the National Earthquake Conference increases the diversity of the participants and adds an increased emphasis on preparedness and mitigation, especially applicable to communities like Memphis and in the surrounding region.”  Sessions at this year’s NEC, themed Learning from the Past to Protect the Future, will provide participants opportunities to learn lessons from recent and historic earthquakes, and how to apply them to reduce future impacts and build resiliency.

    “As one of the lead organizations coordinating the NEC, I’m delighted Memphis was chosen to be serving as the host city for the 2012 National Earthquake Conference,” said Jim Wilkinson, executive director of CUSEC.  “CUSEC, which has been headquartered in Memphis since 1987, has worked tirelessly with its many partners across academia, government, and private sectors to increase not only the awareness of the earthquake risk, but to demonstrate effective risk reduction methods while simultaneously planning to respond and recover from a damaging earthquake.  Hosting the NEC will allow us the opportunity to highlight the many positive changes that have taking place in Memphis and throughout the central U.S.”   

    The National Earthquake Conference (NEC) brings together hundreds of geoscientists, engineers, insurance regulators, building officials and emergency management professionals to discuss advancements in earthquake theory, mitigation, preparedness and education.   Besides EERI and CUSEC, other members of the NEC organizing executive committee include the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC),Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), and Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW).   FEMA, U.S. Geologic Survey, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and National Institute of Standards and Technology are lending their support to this year’s NEC, too.  For registration and event information, visit

    CUSEC Executive Director Participates in Congressional Hazards Caucus Briefing
    March 2012 - On March 29, 2012, CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson participated in a Congressional briefing entitled "Faults in the East - New Madrid Seismic Zone and Recent Virginia Earthquake - Understanding Risks".  The briefing discussed efforts to understand earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. and to reduce risks to life, property and infrastructure.The caucus was held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.  Other panelists included David Spears, Virginia State Geologist, J. Wright Horton, US Geological Survey, and Chuck Langston, Director of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information.  A video of the briefing is available here. 

    CUSEC New Madrid Catastrophic Planning Project "After Action Report" now Available
    March 2012 -In 2006, FEMA provided funding to CUSEC to lead an effort to develop, improve, and integrate the earthquake response plans of the eight CUSEC Member States, those would be most affected by a New Madrid earthquake.  The New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) Catastrophic Planning Project, remains the largest multi-state response planning effort of its kind, and drew upon lessons learned from previous planning initiatives throughout the nation. Thousands of hours of planning, training, and exercising have gone into this historic effort.  The project also helped establish and refine portions of the National Response Framework, an all-hazards guide that establishes how the Nation will respond to small and large scale disasters.

    In December of 2011, CUSEC prepared an “After Action Report”for the NMSZ Catastrophic Planning Project (13MB PDF). That report is now available online and catalogs in detail the five years of planning efforts and highly successful results of the project and the NLE-11.  It identifies the lessons learned and provides recommendations to build upon this important undertaking. The CUSEC Board of Directors has listed several key activities that will take place over the next three years which will lead up to another major exercise, known as CAPSTONE 14. This event will allow Member States to further refine and develop response and recovery capabilities in preparation for a major disaster.  Download the AAR by clicking here.

    Evansville Area Earthquake Hazards Map Unveiled
    February 2012 - On February 7th, 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey and local and regional partners unveiled a new series of seismic hazard maps that outline the effects from quakes occurring in the Evansville area. These earthquake hazard maps are critical tools to business leaders, city planners, emergency management and homeowners since the Evansville area is at risk from both the New Madrid and the Wabash Valley seismic zones.

    The Evansville Area Earthquake Hazards Mapping Project is being lead by representatives from Purdue University, the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis, the State Geologic Surveys of Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, the Southwest Indiana Disaster Resistant Community Corp., the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium State Geologists, and the USGS.

    For a brief report on the maps, please download the USGS Fact Sheet by clicking here.

    CUSEC Board Welcomes Robert Latham as Mississippi Director
    February 2012 - In Little Rock, Arkansas, at the CUSEC Board of Directors meeting, the Board welcomed Robert Latham, newly appointed Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, to the Board of Directors.  Director Latham formerly served as CUSEC Board Chairman during a previous tenure with MEMA, where he was director from 2000 to 2006.  Latham replaces Director Mike Womack as the top official at MEMA, who recently retired.  CUSEC wishes Director Womack the best in his retirement from state government, and welcomes Director Latham back to the Board of Directors.  Read the full news announcement from MEMA here

    CUSEC participates in St. Jude Dream Home® Groundbreaking
    January 2012 - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, CUSEC, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS),  Southern Serenity Homes, and State Farm®, recently participated in the groundbreaking ceremony to construct a new St. Jude Dream Home®.  The Dream Home
    ® is a fundraising effort for the Hospital, with proceeds directed to research programs which increase the knowledge and treatment of childhood cancer and disease.  The house will be the fifth St. Jude Dream Home® built by Southern Serenity Homes, whose efforts have helped raise more than $5 million for St. Jude.

    This will be the first St. Jude Dream Home® built using IBHS’ FORTIFIED for Safer Living® building standards.  These standards increase a building’s strength and overall resistance to disasters.  In this Dream Home®, earthquake and high wind events will be the focus of the FORTIFIED standards. FORTIFIED disaster resistant upgrades are being provided courtesy of State Farm®.  For more information about the effort, visit the IBHS webpage, which has press releases, and other information available for download.

    Great Central U.S. ShakeOut recognized in Washington, D.C. for Disaster Preparedness Awards
    January 2012 - Recently, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut was awarded "Outstanding Exercise, Drill, or Event" as part of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.  CUSEC, the lead coordinating organization for the ShakeOut, accepted the award on behalf of our Member and Associate States in Washington, D.C. on January 18-19, 2012.  Along with 16 other programs from around the nation, the CUSEC and the ShakeOut were also honored to be recognized by the White House as "Champions of Change".  This program is part of President Obama's initiative to recognize individuals, organizations, and groups who are leading the nation in their respective areas of work and community service.  As part of the program, a blog post "Disaster Preparedness is a Partnership Effort" was featured on the White House website and honorees were assembled for a panel discussion on Disaster Preparedness with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino.  CUSEC is honored to have the ShakeOut be considered one of the top disaster preparedness programs in the country.  You can read more about the FEMA awards here

    Online Registration is now OPEN for the National Earthquake Conference

    Dates: April 10-13, 2012
    Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee
    Registration Fees:

    Early Bird Registration ends January 31:
    January 15 to March 15: $450
    After March 15: $550

    With the theme of "Learning from the Past to Protect the Future," the joint National Earthquake Conference and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Annual Conference program commemorates the 200th anniversary of the historic series of strong earthquakes that struck the New Madrid seismic zone in late 1811 and early 1812. It will feature many lessons from recent and historic earthquakes that are applicable to the practice of U.S. professionals. The meeting is jointly hosted by EERI and the NEHRP consortia*, and will consist of both plenary and concurrent sessions to ensure an abundance of offerings for engineers, scientists, emergency managers, and policy makers. 

    Visit for information about the program, the hotel, and how to submit abstracts for one of the poster sessions (deadline January 23).

    200 Years Ago
    December 16, 2011 - Two hundred years ago today, a major earthquake struck the New Madrid Seismic Zone.  This earthquake was the first of several major seismic events that rocked the central U.S. during the winter of 1811-12.   Were they to happen today, these earthquakes could cause widespread damage and disruption to the region. If a major earthquake were to happen today, would you be prepared?  Would you or your family members know how to respond?  Take time now, to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.  What we do now, before the next big earthquake, will determine what our lives are like afterwards.   If you haven’t  yet, please sign up for the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, which is scheduled for February 7, 2012 at 10:15AM.   Take the time now, to ensure that you are properly prepared for earthquakes.   

    Other Earthquake Resources
    Recent Central U.S. Earthquake Activity
    - CERI
    Worldwide Earthquake Activity
    - USGS
    Prepare Your Home & Work for Earthquakes
    - IBHS
    Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit
    - Ready.Gov
    New Madrid Bicentennial Website

    Contact your State Emergency Management Agency for more information on earthquakes and other disasters that may impact your state…

    New CUSEC Chairman Elected

    December 2011 - Paul Parmenter, Director of Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) was elected CUSEC Board Chairman at a recent Board meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Jonathon Monken, Illinois Emergency Management Agency(IEMA) Director was elected Vice-Chairman.  Parmenter was appointed as SEMA Director (SEMA) in March of 2009 and Monken as Director of IEMA in February of 2011.  Both have distinguished careers in public service and safety. 

    Outgoing Board Chairman BG John Heltzel, Kentucky Div. of Emergency Management, leaves behind several enduring accomplishments during his tenure.  General Heltzel led several key planning efforts in the CUSEC states including the formation of the CUSEC Member States Technology Working group and the development of the 2010 Resources Allocation Workshop, which identified what types of needs and resources would be needed by states following a major earthquake, and how those resources would be delivered.  CUSEC would like to thank General Heltzel for his leadership over the past several years as chairman, and congratulate Directors Parmenter and Monken on their newly elected positions on the CUSEC Board of Directors. 

    ShakeOut wins FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award
    October 2011 - This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the winners of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. Formerly called the National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards, the name was changed to reflect FEMA’s intent to recognize the innovative and outstanding achievements of all of the individuals, communities, and organizations working to ensure that the United States is better prepared and more resilient. Organized by the Central US Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and its Member and Associate Member States, the Great Central US ShakeOut won the award for “Outstanding Drill, Exercise, or Event.” This honor recognizes the achievements of individuals who work everyday to increase awareness about the earthquake hazard in the central United States and the promotion of greater preparedness efforts among its citizens, businesses and all levels of government.

    Leadership from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and FEMA selected this event as an award recipient out of numerous applicants among 36 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Award submissions reflected the whole of community approach to emergency management, and included entries from faith-based, tribal, non-profit, private sector, community-based organizations and individuals. Out of these many submissions, The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut was selected as a creative approach to educating and promoting earthquake readiness.  For more information on the awards, visit

    National Earthquake Awards in Excellence Announced
    October 2011 - The Awards in Excellence are given every year by the Western States Seismic Policy Council. Every fourth year the award nominations are solicited nationally in partnership with the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC), the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW). The 2012 National Awards in Excellence will be awarded for exemplary programs, projects, and products that have significantly contributed to addressing earthquake risk reduction through demonstrated achievements in earthquake mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

    The purpose of the Awards in Excellence is to acknowledge and facilitate the exchange of programs, projects or products that have significantly contributed to addressing earthquake risk reduction through demonstrated achievements in earthquake mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.  The WSSPC 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to recognize an outstanding leader in earthquake risk reduction who is still practicing in his or her profession.  The recipient will have demonstrated throughout his or her career an extraordinary commitment, level of service, and contribution to earthquake risk reduction.

    All Awards will be presented at the 2012 National Earthquake Conference, which is being held April 10-14, 2012 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Award nominations are due December 30, 2011.  Nomination forms and information on the submission process are available at the WSSPC website at

    FEMA to Host National Lessons Learned Conference
    September 2011 - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/National Exercise Division (NED) will host its inaugural National Lessons Learned Conference (NLLC) in Arlington, VA, September 13–14, 2011, in association with the September 11, 2001, 10-year anniversary. The NLLC features plenary sessions and interactive panel discussions each day. This conference is open to all emergency managers, planners, exercise professionals, training and education professionals, responders, exercise media, exercise modeling and simulation professionals, disaster preparedness professionals, private sector participants, and “Whole Community” partners.

    The NLLC will allow participants to review lessons learned from 10 years of national level and linked exercises specific to improving the readiness of the United States to prepare for, respond to, and recover from an event of national significance, and to engage in discussions covering several thematic areas of exercise design, response, recovery, and policy.  The NLLC is a great opportunity for participants to apply lessons learned to their agency’s training and exercise program within an interactive forum.  FEMA/NED’s intent is to sponsor a forum where exercise planners, participants, policy and procedure planners, and operations staff can share and apply experiences and lessons learned from a broad series of national level and linked exercises, as well as real-world events.  The target audience for this conference includes emergency managers, planners, exercise professionals, training and education professionals, responders, exercise media, exercise modeling and simulation professionals, disaster preparedness professionals, private sector participants, and Whole Community partners.  Also, on September 15, 2011, FEMA/Office of Response and Recovery (ORR) will host an invitation-only, interactive forum on future collaborative national planning efforts.  An invitation-only State and Federal interagency National Planning System workshop hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/Office of Response and Recovery (ORR). To request an invitation, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

    When:  September 13–14, 2011 from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EDT
    Where: Sheraton National Hotel
    900 South Orme Street | Arlington, VA 22204
    Phone: 703-521-1900 | Toll-Free: 1-800-325-3535
    Register in advance at:  On-site registration begins at 7:00 a.m. EDT

    National Preparedness Month
    September 2011 - Today is September 1, which means it’s officially National Preparedness Month. Hurricane Irene, the east coast earthquake, and this year’s midwest floods and tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin have all been critical reminders about the importance of preparedness. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is in New York City today kicking off National Preparedness Month, helping to get the word out and asking people: Are you ready? As you prepare your community, we need your help to continue to get the word out. To join the National Preparedness Month Coalition and start making a difference today visit -

    Earthquake Rocks East Coast
    August 2011 -
    At approximately 1:51PM local time on Tuesday August 23, 2011 a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Mineral, Virginia, about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia and 90 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.  The earthquake is the highest magnitude earthquake to strike Virginia in more than six decades.  This earthquake was felt in several states along the eastern United States seaboard, caused some injuries and minor damage, more than 125,000 people reported feeling the earthquake on the USGS Did You Feel it Website.  If you felt this earthquake, please visit their site to report your experience.   

    Map Your Neighborhood comes to the Central U.S.
    July 2011 - As part of the New Madrid Bicentennial, the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission is implementing a program in the central U.S. to create better prepared and more self-reliant neighboorhoods.  This program is known as “Map Your Neighborhood“.  The primary goal of Map Your Neighborhood is to prepare neighborhoods (generally 15-20 homes in urban areas, 6-7 in rural areas) to be self-reliant during the first hours of a disaster response, when traditional 9-1-1 responders are overwhelmed by demand.   The program prepares neighbors to help themselves and others with an easy, simple and friendly set of activities.

    Map Your Neighborhood (MYN, pronounced “mine”) was developed by Dr. LuAn Johnson, first in Sunnyvale, CA and then in Seattle, WA. The program was implemented state-wide by the State of Washington’s Emergency Management Division (WA-EMD). This award-winning program has proven its effectiveness during the February 28, 2001 Nisqually (Seattle) Earthquake. MYN has been adopted by many states, counties and cities and the program is being encouraged by the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. The city of Carbondale, Illinois has enthusiastically implemented MYN. The Missouri Seismic Safety Commission (MSSC) has endorsed MYN for Missouri and has been given permission by WA-EMD to print the copy-written materials and conduct training. Other states or local government offices are welcome to get information from both WA-EMD and MSSC.

    For more information on this effort, visit the MYN program page on the Bicentennial website at

    FEMA Awards Announced
    July 2011 - FEMA is currently accepting submissions for the 2011 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. These awards recognize the innovative and outstanding achievements of all of the individuals, communities, and organizations working to ensure that the United States is better prepared and more resilient.  The Awards showcase the work of the Agency’s partners at the State, territorial, local, and tribal levels. This includes non-governmental organizations in the non-profit, faith-based, and private sector communities, as well as and diverse individuals, families, and communities. As an NPM Coalition Member, the work you are doing qualifies and we encourage you to submit your activities and ideas for consideration. Submissions can feature examples of any outstanding achievements in individual and community preparedness worthy of recognition.  Please visit for full details.

    Winners will be announced in during National Preparedness Month, September 2011, and will be FEMA’s honored guests at a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington, D.C. One winner will be selected to attend the 2011 International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference in Las Vegas, NV, and to participate on a FEMA community preparedness panel. Entries must be received by August 26, 11:59 p.m. E.D.T.

    The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut
    May 2011 - In April of this year, communities throughout the CUSEC Member States (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee) and Associate States of Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, took part in the largest earthquake preparedness effort in this region’s history, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. With planning taking place over the past two years, the ShakeOut was a multi-state earthquake drill where participants simultaneous practiced the recommended action to take during an earthquake: Drop, Cover and Hold On . The event was open to the public and was designed to encourage people to think about how they would react if an earthquake were to strike and prompt them to take preventative measures before one actually hits.  

    Leading up to the ShakeOut, which was scheduled for April 28 at 10:15a.m., there were a number of storms, floods, and devastating tornadoes which caused widespread destruction and killed hundreds of people in several states. Many who originally intended to participate in the ShakeOut were forced to alter their plans because of the real-world disasters. Those who could continue with their plans were encouraged to do so. CUSEC continues to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected by these tragic events.  For those who were able, many drills were held at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 28. There were several media and press conference events held at locations in the states, and in all, more than 3 Million across nearly 10,000 sites were expected to participate in the event.

    The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut has been modeled after similar efforts in California, where ShakeOut drills have been held each year since 2008. CUSEC has worked closely with the Southern California Earthquake Center and the Earthquake Country Alliance to develop the central U.S. ShakeOut effort. It was also linked event of the New Madrid Bicentennial and the National Level (Earthquake) Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) and was coordinated by CUSEC, along with our Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and dozens of other partners throughout the country. There are too many names to list individually, but we would like to thank the thousands of individuals in the region for their efforts in making this event a success. To read more about the ShakeOut, including stories and news about the recent drills held throughout the region,visit 

    Interactive Central U.S. Earthquake Map gets a New Look
    April 2011 - The Center for Earthquake Research and Information has given their "Recent Earthquakes" map a new look, updating it to be based around Google maps.  This interactive map can be viewed in Map, Satellite, or Terrain views, and can also filter earthquakes to view different magnitudes.  The map displays earthquakes that have happened in the central U.S. over the past six months.  This feature rich map can be accessed by visiting

    CUSEC Welcomes two new Board Members
    February 2011 - Springfield, Illinois:  Jonathon E. Monken was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn as acting Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) on February 14, 2011. As acting director, Mr. Monken oversees Illinois' disaster preparedness and response, nuclear safety and homeland security programs, as well as the agency's 225+ employees and a budget of more than $618 million. In this capacity, he also serves as the Illinois Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor.  Prior to becoming IEMA acting director, Monken served for two years as acting Director of the Illinois State Police. As acting director, he was in charge of a staff of 3,400 sworn and civilian personnel in five major divisions, including the third largest crime laboratory system in the world, and an annual agency budget of approximately $428 million.

    Clanton, Alabama:  Art Faulkner was appointed on January 7, 2011, by Governor Robert Bentley to serve as the director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.  With nearly 22 years of experience in State and local government, Director Faulkner formerly served as the director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, the police chief of Coosada, Alabama for three years and Elmore County 9-1-1 Director/ Assistant EMA Director for three years. In 1996, Art moved to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to serve as the State 9-1-1 Coordinator. While in that position, he helped establish new 9-1-1 programs and served as an assistant to the Chairman of the State Wireless 9-1-1 Board. Director Faulkner also served as Acting Director of Operations from 2002 to 2003 and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the agency.

    CUSEC wishes both Directors well in their new roles as State Emergency Management Director in their states.

    CUSEC, FEMA, IBHS & States Partner to form an Earthquake Outreach Tour
    January 2011 - In recognition of the bicentennial of the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes, the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) are teaming with state and local partners to bring residents and organizations in the affected region an educational campaign to help reduce their earthquake risk. 

    The theme of the tour is “Identify your Risk, Make a Plan, and Take Action.” Messages will be tailored for business and residential audiences, who will walk away with the tools they need to become better prepared and resilient should another earthquake occur. Residents and business owners will learn more about earthquakes in their communities; become familiar with available resources, such as QuakeSmart and Open for Business®, which are tools to create earthquake preparedness plans; and, get how-to information about affordable ways to protect people and property from earthquake risks.  

    The Earthquake Outreach Tour will be conducted in five states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee, during the week of Feb.7-11, 2011. The tour will conclude at the "Earthquakes:  Mean Business"  event on February 11 in St. Louis, which marks the official kickoff of the New Madrid Bicentennial.  For more information, click here...

    EarthScope Workshop for Informal Educators in the Central U.S.
    January 2011 - Applications are being accepted for a free EarthScope workshop for interpretive rangers and museum educators in the Central United States. The workshop coincides with the 200th Anniversary of large earthquakes that struck near New Madrid, Missouri, as well as arrival of the USArray of seismometers in the central U.S. Participants will work with scientists to develop interpretive programs focused on how society benefits from earthquake monitoring and knowledge of continental development.  The workshop will be held March 17-20, 2011 at the Fogelman Executive Conference Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  The EarthScope National Office will cover participant expenses while at the workshop, including shared lodging, food, materials, and field trip travel. Participants or their organizations are expected to pay their own travel costs to and from the workshop site.  Details and an online application form at:

    School Retrofit Webinars coming in 2011
    January 2011 - In the first quarter of 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will host three FREE one-hour webinars for school officials, teachers, facility managers, and others who are interested in learning how to reduce earthquake risks and take actions to ensure school safety and continued operations.  Numerous school buildings located in multiple states and U.S. territories are vulnerable to earthquake damage and losses. At these webinars, participants will learn the following:

      - How to assess and analyze your earthquake risks
      - How to develop an actionable plan to reduce and manage earthquake risks
      - How to initiate an earthquake risk reduction plan for existing school buildings
      - How to secure “non-structural” elements of the school facility

       and much more...

    These webinars will be a great opportunity to learn more about the topics above and begin preparation for the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.  The webinars will be held on January 20, February 17, and March 17, 2011 at 3:00PM EST.  Registration is free. To register please send your preferred date to participate, name, organization, address, phone number and email address by fax at 650-593-2320 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by Friday, January 7, 2011.

    2009 NEHRP Provisions Available
    October 2010 - The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce that the 2009 edition of the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures, FEMA P-750 and FEMA P-750 CD, are now available, at no cost, from the FEMA Publications Warehouse and online from the FEMA Library.

    One of the goals of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is to encourage design and construction practices that reduce the seismic risk to property and life. FEMA’s publication of the 2009 NEHRP Provisions, which serve as a national resource for design professionals and the standards and codes development community, is a major ongoing commitment to achieving this goal. In a series first published in 1985, the 2009 NEHRP Provisions marks the seventh update of this key resource document. This new edition adopts by reference the national load standard, ASCE/SEI 7-05, which allows the Provisions to resume its role as a research-to-practice resource for introducing new knowledge, innovative concepts, and design methods to improve the national seismic standards and codes.

    To order your copy of FEMA P-750 with FEMA P-750 CD from the FEMA Publications Warehouse, call 1 (800) 480-2520 or fax your request to (240) 699-0525

    National Preparedness Month Recap
    October 2010 - September 2010 was National Preparedness Month in the United States.  During the month, CUSEC hosted and participated in several events to increase awareness about the earthquake hazard in the central U.S.  Those events included interacting with the public and handing out literature at three preparedness expositions, participating in two earthquake exercises, attending several meetings of public officials planning for earthquakes, presenting earthquake safety information to high school students in Memphis, TN, and presenting earthquake safety and hazard information during three business seminars, including the Mid-South Association of Contingency Planners EPIC conference and a FEMA initiative called QuakeSmart

    Most importantly, CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson had the honor of being invited to testify before the United States Senate in our nation’s capital to discuss the central U.S. earthquake threat.  Video footage of Director Wilkinson’s testimony can be seen by clicking here.  Even though National Preparedness Month is over, CUSEC would like to remind you that earthquakes can happen at any time, and you should always be ready.

    September is National Preparedness Month
    September 2010 - On September 1, 2010 FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate kicked off the seventh annual National Preparedness Month, joining local Washington, D.C. officials and students from Ferebree-Hope Elementary School at the Serve DC Commander Ready event to talk about the importance of family and community emergency preparedness, especially as Hurricane Earl approaches the East Coast of the U.S. and other storms continue to form in the Atlantic Ocean.

    National Preparedness Month is led by FEMA's Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, and is a nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. National Preparedness Month is supported by a coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations that help spread the preparedness message.  This year’s record number of coalition members are sharing preparedness information with their members, customers, employee, and communities. Members also spearhead activities that encourage specific steps for individual, neighborhood, and community preparedness.

    In addition to the kickoff event, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps will sponsor activities across the country throughout September. Ready is introducing several new PSA campaigns and Citizen Corps is presenting its National Achievement Awards during September.

    Delta Regional Authority Announces New Co-Chair
    June 2010 - CUSEC would like to congratulate Chris Masingill on his recent appointment to Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). CUSEC has worked closely with DRA in hosting earthquake activities in the Delta Region. Currently, DRA is an active participate in the planning of the New Madrid Bicentennial (NMB)- the 200th Anniversary of the 1811/1812 great New Madrid earthquakes. We wish former co-chairman Pete Johnson well in his new endeavors, and look forward to working with Mr. Masingill on future earthquake initiatives.

    New FEMA Publications Available on CD
    May 2010 - The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce that three new CD-ROM compilations of FEMA earthquake resources are now available at no cost from the FEMA Publications Warehouse:

    Earthquake Publications for Teachers and Kids, FEMA P-710CD

    Earthquake Publications for Individuals and Homeowners, FEMA P-711CD

    Earthquake Publications for Community Planners and Public Policy Makers, FEMA P-712CD

    To view or download other National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) publications and products or to sign up for updates on earthquake risk mitigation publications, news, and events, visit Earthquake Publications and Tools at,

    CUSEC Board Member Heading to FEMA
    May 2010 - FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate applauded President Obama’s recent appointment of Andrew Velasquez III as FEMA Regional Administrator for Region V, which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. “Regional Administrators are crucial to our ability to respond effectively to emergencies based on the needs of the communities we serve,” said Fugate. “Andrew Velasquez is not only an experienced emergency manager with deep roots in the region, but also a dedicated public servant. His knowledge and experience make him uniquely qualified to help lead our efforts there.” 

    Velasquez brings extensive experience in emergency management at the state and local level. He has served as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and State Homeland Security Advisor since 2007, and prior to that was Executive Director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Since joining IEMA, Director Velasquez has been an active and vocal participant on the CUSEC Board of Directors. We wish him the best of luck in his new role as Regional Administrator of FEMA Region V.

    New Publication on Central United States Earthquakes
    April 2010 - CUSEC is happy to announce that our newest publication  "Central U.S. Earthquake Guide" is now available for download on the CUSEC website. The guide is intended to be used by students, teachers, homeowners, and anyone else interested in information about earthquakes in the central U.S.  This informative guide has information on earthquakes in the central U.S., earthquakes of 1811-1812, common earthquake terms, earthquake safety tips, earthquake mitigation tips, pet/animal considerations during a disaster, earthquake insurance, and more! This is an eight panel fold out poster, which the second side can be hung on a wall or in an office for viewing.  The guide can be found in the publications section of our website or by clicking here - (2.5MB Download)

    April is Earthquake Awareness Month in Illinois
    April 2010 - During the month of April, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is highlighting earthquake preparedness as part of its 12-Month Preparedness Campaign. While most people are familiar with the earthquake hazard along the West Coast of the U.S., many are not aware that one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. was centered near the town of New Madrid in southeastern Missouri during the winter of 1811-1812.

    Southern Illinois lies within two mid-continental seismic zones. The New Madrid Seismic Zone stretches from Illinois to Mississippi along the Central Mississippi River Valley, while the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone is located between southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. While the greatest earthquake risks lie in these areas, earthquakes have occurred throughout Illinois.

    For more information about the earthquake threat in Illinois and what you can do to prepare, read the Earthquake Preparedness Month press release and check out the "Earthquakes in Illinois" section on the IEMA website.

    EERI to Host Chile Earthquake Webcast
    March 2010 - EERI's Learning from Earthquakes Program is organizing a series of briefings on Haiti and Chile in various locations, primarily as webinars and webcasts.  The first in this series is being organized and sponsored by EERI, PEER and GEER and will be held:

    Tuesday March 30, 2010
    3:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST

    Download the agenda here (PDF)
    Auditorium in Room 310, Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS Building), UC Berkeley Directions Here

    Speakers to include: Professor Jack Moehle, former PEER Director & EERI Reconnaissance Team Leader, Bill Holmes of Rutherford & Chekene and Mark Yashinsky of Caltrans, both EERI team members and Jon Bray of UC Berkeley and Keith Kelson of Fugro William Lettis & Associates, both members of the GEER team. This first briefing about the Chile Earthquake on Feb 27, 2010 and its many subsequent aftershocks will provide an overview of the findings of the reconnaissance teams. It will be followed by a series of other briefings that are arranged on specific topics that warrant additional detail and discussion.

    EERI Sends Investigation Team to Chile
    March 2010 - A large team of EERI members and colleagues will be traveling to Chile next week to document the effects of the massive 8.8 earthquake that struck that country on February 27th. Under the leadership of Professor Jack Moehle of UC Berkeley, EERI is sending this team to bring back lessons for practice and academia in both the U.S. and Chile. Joining Moehle in providing leadership for the overall reconnaissance effort are EERI member Professor Rafael Riddell of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and Professor Ruben Boroschek of the University of Chile. The team is organized under the umbrella of EERI's Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Program, which is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Many partnering organizations are providing travel support for the LFE team members. The team will regularly post field observations and photographs on EERI's Chile Clearinghouse site:

    FEMA E-74 Available Online
    March 2010 - FEMA 74 explains the sources of earthquake damage that can occur in nonstructural components and provides information on effective methods for reducing risk associated with nonstructural earthquake damage. It is intended for use by a non-engineer audience that includes building owners, facility managers, maintenance personnel, store or office managers, corporate or agency department heads, and homeowners. The reference material contained within the third edition of FEMA 74 is now approaching 20 years old. A considerable amount of new information now exists as a result of ongoing National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) activities, local and state government programs, private sector initiatives, and academic work focused on reducing the potential for nonstructural earthquake damage.

    This fourth edition of the FEMA 74 document updates both the content and the format of the report. The document has been redesigned for use on the internet, and is known as "FEMA E-74". Currently, the report contains fifty examples, complete with photos of actual damage and details illustrating correct mitigation measures. The new format makes it simple to browse and to print out the relevant details.  To view FEMA E-74 online, visit -

    New Haiti Earthquake Report Available
    March 2010 - The Geo-engineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, with funding from NSF, today released a summary report from their on-the-ground investigation following the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Researchers from numerous organizations worked collaboratively as a GEER team to perform a reconnaissance of the geological, seismological, and geotechnical aspects of the earthquake effects. The GEER team included many EERI members and the team was led by Professor Ellen Rathje, a member of the EERI Board of Directors. The results are summarized in a report recently published on the GEER web site at -

    February is Earthquake Awareness Month in the Central U.S.
    February 2010 - This February marks another year in which at least five CUSEC Member States will be holding earthquake awareness activities.  Activities include -

    Arkansas - Conferences, Trainings, News Releases, Proclamations, and more;
    Kentucky -  Proclamations, Drills, News Releases, School Outreach Programs, and more;
    Mississippi - Proclamations, Public Outreach, and more;
    Missouri - School Outreach, Town Hall Meetings, Business Outreach Programs, and more;
    Tennessee - Proclamations, Trainings, Media Events, and more;

    Missouri and Kentucky will hold earthquake awareness events during the entire month of February, while Mississppi and Arkansas, and Tennessee will hold events during the first and second weeks of February, respectively.  Additionally, Illinois will hold earthquake awareness activities in April 2010.  

    New Report on Potential NMSZ Earthquake Impacts Available
    January 2010 - A new report from the Mid-America Earthquake Center is now available in print and online.  This report contains earthquake impact assessments for the CUSEC Member States due to earthquakes caused by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. It reports Phase II work from a major New Madrid Earthquakes Catastrophic Event Planning project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The report gives damage estimates to the built environment, projected impacts on transportation and utility networks as well as possible social and economic consequences. It supersedes the report, “Impact of Earthquakes on the Central USA,” published in 2008. The analysis employs the best available and most reliable hazard and inventory data that has ever been assembled for the CUSEC Member States.

    The work was undertaken by the MAE Center at the University of Illinois in partnership with the Center for Technology, Security and Policy at Virginia Tech University and the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at the George Washington University, with contributions from the Association of CUSEC State Geologists, US Army Corps of Engineers, IEM, FEMA, U.S. Geological Survey, and CUSEC.  Bound paper and CD copies are available from Nasiba Alrawi, IT Coordinator, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

    Haiti Earthquake Serves as Reminder for the Central U.S.
    January 2010 - According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the island of Haiti was hit with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake at 3:53p.m.CST on Tuesday, January 12, 2010— the strongest earthquake to strike the island in more than 200 years. As the extent of devastation and casualties becomes clearer, an international disaster relief effort is underway to assist an estimated three million people in need of emergency aid. This catastrophic event should serve as a reminder to central U.S. residents that we also have our own earthquake hazard to address, and that individual and community preparedness is key in mitigating losses of life and property.

    Knowing that at any moment a major earthquake can strike the central U.S., local, state and federal governments are taking steps to ensure a unified approach to response and recovery following a major seismic event in the region. Initiated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) Catastrophic Planning Initiative is a project to help increase national readiness for a  catastrophic earthquake in the NMSZ. This initiative includes participation from local, state and federal governments, academia, business, industry and volunteer organizations. Read more about preparing for earthquakes in the central U.S.

    New USGS Report on Central U.S. Earthquakes Available
    January 2010 - On September 8-9, 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission co-sponsored a workshop on Mmax east of the Rocky Mountains. Mmax is the magnitude of the largest earthquake that is thought to be possible within a specified geographic area. Mmax is an important variable in seismic-hazard computations.

    The minutes of the workshop are now available online as a 308-page USGS Open-File Report titled "Sizes of the Largest Possible Earthquakes in the Central and Eastern United States—Summary of a Workshop, September 8–9, 2008, Golden, Colorado". To download the report, please go to The first half of the report is text and the second half is the PowerPoint slides of the 15 invited speakers. A 30 MB PDF file contains both the text and the slides. In addition, a directory contains each speaker's slides as an individual downloadable PowerPoint file.

    Before the workshop, a foundation document went to the invitees to provide a common basis for discussions. That document is the 44-page Open-File Report "Methods of Mmax Estimation East of the Rocky Mountains". It's available at

    CUSEC Saddened by Loss of Close Friend & Colleague
    December 2009 - Dr. Norman C. Hester, 76, of Bloomington, Indiana passed away on Monday December 7, 2009.  Dr. Hester served for several years as the Technical Director of the Association of CUSEC State Geologists.  He was one of the original founders of the Association and recognized early on the need for a collaborative effort among the CUSEC Member State Geological Surveys.  As Technical Director, Dr. Hester was the face of the Association, working to advise and bring together the States to address common issues and cross boundary problems presented by the earthquake hazard.

    Dr. Hester also had a great sense of the importance of bringing together the science and emergency management communities.  In as much, his work over the years with the State Geologists earned him an Ex-Officio position on the CUSEC Board of Directors.  Dr. Hester served as a colleague, mentor, and friend to many people over the years.  His leadership, generosity, and sense of humor will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.  Read more here...

    CUSEC Board Member Receives State Legislative Award
    December 2009 - On December 3, 2009 Director Andrew Velasquez, III was selected by the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus to receive the Exemplary Leadership award for his leadership in serving as IEMA Director/State Homeland Security Advisor and for his role in managing the states response in multiple federally declared disasters in Illinois. State Senator Martin Sandoval and State Representative Toni Berrios presented the award with Governor Quinn in attendance. In addition to being IEMA Director, Velasquez is on the CUSEC Board of Directors.  CUSEC wishes to congratulate Director Velasquez on this recognition. 

    EERI New Madrid Chapter to Hold Poster Contest

    October 2009 - EERI's New Madrid Chapter (NMC) is organizing a poster competition for students. The two levels of prizes are graduate and undergraduate, with first place awards of $350 and $250, respectively. There will also be second place awards. All students will present their posters in a professional forum at the competition during Earthquake Awareness Week (EQAW -- late January or early February 2010) in St. Louis, Missouri.  Awardees will be acknowledged during EQAW activities and will have earned an honor useful for their resumes and employment searches.  If the competition is held during the first week of February, students who wish to attend the EERI Annual Meeting can submit posters without attending EQAW. 

    Application forms and competition rules are available from Individual or groups (maximum of three) are welcome to apply. The application deadline is December 9, 2009. Applicants will be notified of decisions by December 18. The exact date and location in the St. Louis area will accompany the notices.  

    CUSEC and Indiana DHS Install GeoCache in New Harmony, Indiana
    October 2009 - Recently, CUSEC and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) installed a geocache in New Harmony, Indiana. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Several factors make New Harmony a great location for the geocache. For instance, New Harmony is the southernmost county in Indiana, and is located within the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. In 2002, CUSEC worked closely with officials in New Harmony to have a seismic monitoring station installed. New Harmony is also home to one of the oldest geology labs in the United States.

    The geocache installation was a partnership effort between CUSEC, IDHS, the Indiana Geological Survey, Posey County Emergency Management Agency, and the New Harmony Inn. The morning of the installation, CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson and IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott gave several media and TV interviews in Evansville, Indiana, to promote earthquake awareness and geocaching. Prior to installing the geocache, CUSEC and IDHS also held a press conference at the New Harmony Inn, where several members of the public and media were present. News stories of the installation and outreach events can be found by visiting WFIE TV 14 Evansville (video included) and the Evansville Courier Press.

    This is CUSEC’s eighth geocache, as part of the “What’s Shaking?” series of educational geocaches. These caches contain earthquake and disaster safety takeaways for each visitor. Ultimately, CUSEC hopes to reach at least 500 new cache visitors per year through this effort. For more on geocaching, visit -

    PBS to Air Special About New Madrid Earthquakes
    September 2009 - On Tuesday, September 1, at 8:00 p.m. CDT, NOVA science NOW will air “Earthquakes in the Midwest.” In this special episode, experts will take us back to the three most powerful earthquakes to strike the American Midwest in order to explain how and why earthquakes occur in the heartland.  Geologists will also uncover important geological patterns that can reveal the region’s potential for another series of earthquakes.  For more information on the NOVA episode, visit -

    New USGS Publication on New Madrid Seismic Zone
    August 2009 - The US Geological Survey has released a fact sheet entitled "Earthquake Hazard in the New Madrid Seismic Zone Remains a Concern". 
    As part of a consensus-building process used to develop the national seismic hazard maps, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) convened a workshop of experts to evaluate the latest findings in earthquake hazards in the Eastern United States. These experts considered the GPS data from New Madrid available at that time that also showed little to no ground movement at the surface. The experts did not find the GPS data to be a convincing reason to lower the assessment of earthquake hazard in the New Madrid region, especially in light of the many other types of data that are used to construct the hazard assessment, several of which are described in the fact sheet.  The fact sheet is currently only available for download, but should be available in hard copy soon. 

    NEMA Releases Mitigation White Paper
    July 2009 - On July 9, 2009 The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) released a white paper on titled “Recommendations for an Effective National Mitigation Effort,” outlining the importance of mitigation efforts aimed at building disaster resiliency across the nation.  The white paper is a result of months of collaborative work of many organizations, including CUSEC.   “NEMA appreciates the efforts of FEMA and the other partner organizations involved in this white paper for their continued commitment to mitigation and their willingness to lend their time and expertise to this endeavor. We hope that as the message of the white paper is discussed and analyzed, attention is also focused on the enormous amount of work ahead as we continue to strengthen the mitigation component of emergency management,” said NEMA President Nancy Dragani. Dragani also serves as the Executive Director of Ohio’s State Emergency Management Agency.  Ohio is one of CUSEC's Associate States.  For more on the white paper, read the press release found at the NEMA website.

    HAZUS-MH Update Available
    June 2009 - FEMA announced the availability of HAZUS-MH MR3 Patch 3 recently.  The new patch allows for several enhancements and updates to the earthquake model, including new calculations for relocation losses and user supplied liquefaction maps.  HAZUS-MH is FEMA's multi-hazard loss estimation software that is used for both mitigation and emergency response planning.  More on the patch can be found by reading the release notes.  The HAZUS home page can be found by clicking here.  

    CUSEC Welcomes New Associate State Member
    April 2009 - CUSEC is pleased to announce that Kansas has been voted in as the tenth associate member state by the CUSEC Board of Directors. This addition comes at the request of Major General, Tod Bunting, State Director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KEM). In a letter to the CUSEC Board of Directors, Director Bunting stated that Kansas is actively planning with their neighboring state, Missouri—which faces the constant threat of a New Madrid seismic event—to be ready to provide various resources in the event of a damaging earthquake in the central US.  These resources will include shipment of equipment, and the housing of disaster victims in congregate care shelters.  Kansas has a long-time reputation for assisting other states across the country in times of disaster. In 2005, the state deployed Kansans to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Prior to that, Kansas personnel were sent to New York post 9/11 to assist with donations management. Most recently—in 2008— KEM personnel went to Iowa to assist with flood recovery. Please join us in welcoming Kansas as the newest associate state member of the CUSEC organization.

    Announcements from the US Geological Survey
    March 2009 -The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced this month that it will award up to $7 million in grants and cooperative agreements for earthquake research in 2010.   Interested researchers can apply online at GRANTS.GOV under the funding opportunity number 10HQPA0001.  Applications are due May 13, 2009.  The USGS awards approximately 90 research grants annually to universities, state geological surveys and private institutions. Previous grants include cataloging earthquakes to better prepare emergency responders, the public and the media about earthquakes; providing seismic hazard estimates so communities and critical institutions can engineer their buildings and roads to be structurally sound; and providing data on ground shaking to help minimize damage.

    Also from the USGS in March, is a new circular discussing the landslide hazard.  The circular is entitled "The Landslide Handbook - A Guide to Understanding Landslides". This handbook is intended to be a resource for people affected by landslides to acquire further knowledge, especially about the conditions that are unique to their neighborhoods and communities.  The handbook can be downloaded at

    New FEMA Director Announced
    March 2009 — President Barack Obama on Wednesday tapped Florida emergency manager Craig Fugate to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Prior to the nomination, Fugate has been the Florida Division of Emergency Management Director since 2001.  Fugate's department was held up as a national model after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He said then that the state had been preparing extensively for the threat of terrorism since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and had done exercises for several possibilities, including cruise missile attacks.  Obama's decision to name Fugate drew praise from Florida lawmakers and the International Association of Emergency Managers, which represents local emergency managers around the country. Adapted from the Associated Press

    Earthquake Awareness Week Campaigns
    January 2009 - Each year in late January and in February, several CUSEC States participate in joint efforts to raise the level of earthquake awareness in the central United States.  Activities include things such as Press Conferences, Governor's Proclamations, Town Hall Meetings, Exhibits, Earthquake related training, and much more.  In 2009, States holding Earthquake Awareness Activities include Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  For information on what each State is doing, click here for a full schedule of events.

    Arkansas set to Install Seismic Monitoring Stations
    December 2008 - Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has authorized the State to purchase six broadband seismic monitors that will detect and locate earthquake activity throughout Arkansas. The Arkansas Geological Survey will place the monitors throughout the state to improve measuring capabilities in areas between existing stations around the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Northeast Arkansas and those in Oklahoma.   "Although Arkansans may not think about earthquakes often, our proximity to the New Madrid zone makes them a realistic concern for our State," Governor Beebe said. "Our emergency responders already train and prepare for earthquakes. These seismic monitors will give us better information about the small tremors we experience now and help us prepare for stronger earthquakes that could impact Arkansas in the future."  The earthquake data collected by the new monitors will be shared with researchers and the public on a regular basis. The Geological Survey will also post updated maps of recent seismic activity online.  Adapted from the Official News Release

    Special Session at SSA on Mt. Carmel Earthquake
    December 2008 - There will be a special session at the April 2009 Seismological Society of America Meeting entitled  "M5.2 Mt. Carmel, Illinois, Earthquake, 18 April 2008".  The 18 April 2008 M5.2 Mt. Carmel earthquake is the most densely recorded moderate-sized earthquake to date in the Eastern U.S. It is also the largest earthquake to strike the central U.S. in 40 years. The main event and 35 aftershocks were widely recorded by ANSS seismographs across the central U.S. offering an opportunity to study earthquake ground motions having a variety of site conditions including the thick soils of the Mississippi Embayment. Based on USGS Did You Feel It reports the earthquake was widely felt up to 500 km from the epicenter including the cities of Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Lexington, KY, Atlanta, GA, Memphis, TN, and St. Louis, MO.  This session seeks contributions on source rupture models, geodetic observations, fault plane characterization from aftershocks, site response and basin effects, attenuation, and shaking effects to the built environment and free-field related to this earthquake.  Information about the meeting and abstract submission can be found at the SSA Website:

    New Report on Impact of Earthquakes in the Central United States
    November 2008 - The Mid-America Earthquake (MAE) Center at the University of Illinois announces the release of its report entitled ‘Impact of Earthquakes on the Central USA’.  The report is the one of the products of the largest earthquake consequence assessment project in United States history, the New Madrid Seismic Zone Catastrophic Planning Project. The report contains earthquake impact assessments for the eight CUSEC Member States, and lists damage and other consequences to the built environment as well as social and economic impacts.  The earthquake scenarios used represent the New Madrid, the Wabash Valley, and East Tennessee seismic zones.  The analysis employs new and more reliable hazard and inventory data that has not been used before.

    The project is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, and the work was undertaken in partnership with the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at the George Washington University, with contributions for the Association of CUSEC State Geologists, IEM, FEMA, US Geological Survey, and CUSEC.  The report is available for download at IDEALS.  Bound paper and CD copies are available from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , MAE Center Program Coordinator.

    NEHRP Strategic Plan Now Available Online
    October 2008 - The 2009-20013 Strategic Plan of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program is now available online at  The plan represents more than two years of work and effort NEHRP and the strategic planning committee. 
    Following the release of the draft Plan in April 2008, the NEHRP Secretariat opened a 30-day public comment period, during which organizations and individuals could download the draft Plan from the NEHRP web site, review it, and then provide thoughts and comments on it.  The public comment period closed on May 9, 2008. By the end of the comment period, NEHRP received 118 comments from 35 individuals and organizations.  Click here to download a copy of the Strategic Plan.

    South Carolina Earthquake Guide Available
    September 2008 - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has released an eight page earthquake guide entitled "South Carolina Earthquake Guide" recently.  The guide has information on earthquakes in South Carolina, historical earthquake information, and emergency preparedness information for pet owners, among other topics.  Click here to download a copy of the guide (approx. 2MB file size).

    CUSEC Launches new Website
    September 2008 - We are pleased to announce the launch of the latest version of the CUSEC website.  Our new site has been redesigned from the ground up to better serve our visitors.  It has been organized in a way that will offer easy to find information on earthquakes in the central US, earthquake safety, current programs in the central U.S., CUSEC publications, and more.  New Features include -

        - Fully Searchable Site

        - Updated Publications Library

        - Easy to Navigate Menu System

        - CSS Styling for better compliance across browsers

        - Updated information & safety tips

        - and Much, Much, More...

    Please take a moment to look around the website and we welcome any feedback you may have. 

    September is National Preparedness Month
    September 2008 - According to, September is National Preparedness Month in the United States.  Throughout the month, there are initiatives across the country that encourage citizens to be prepared for both earthquakes and other natural or manmade disasters. is supported by the United States Department of Homeland Security and encourages citizens to 1) Get a Kit 2) Make a Plan and 3) Be informed about different hazards that could impact you.  More information on National Preparedenss Month can be found at - 

    CUSEC Welcomes three new Corporate Sponsors in 2008
    August 2008 - CUSEC is pleased to announce three new corporate sponsors in 2008.  Worksafe Technologies and  Ridg-U-Rak, Inc. both offer seismic mitigation products and services that reduce damages associated with earthquakes.  The Murray State University - Center for Telecommunications Systems Management brings another higher education/academic liasion to CUSEC.   Worksafe Technologies is based in California, and has received accolades for their innovative Iso-Base product in recent years.  Ridg-U-Rak has recently released their Seismic System for Storage Racks and was recipient of the 2008 Award in Excellence from the National Earthquake Conference.  We are pleased to announce their support of CUSEC and our mission of protecting lives and property from disasters.  For information on becoming a CUSEC Corporate Sponsor, click here.

    NEHRP Appoints Central U.S. Representative to Advisory Committee
    August 2008 - Three new Board Members were appointed to the NEHRP Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR).  One of the new members, Dr. James Beavers, represents the central United States perspective on the panel.  CUSEC would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Beavers for his nomination to the panel.  He has long been an advocate for increasing earthquake awareness in the central U.S.  Read more about the panel here.

    Dr. Beavers is a structural engineer who has specialized in natural and technological hazards during more than 35 years as a university professor, private consultant, corporate manager, author, and editor.  He formerly served as deputy director of the Mid-America Earthquake Center, as vice president for MS Technology's Natural and Technological Hazards Services Division, as director of the Center for Natural Phenomena Engineering at Martin Marietta Energy Systems, and as chairman of the board of directors for the Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC).  Dr. Beavers has served on more than 80 national committees, authored or coauthored more than 200 papers, and participated in professional exchange programs with Russia, China, India, and Australia. In 2007, he received the Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award from ASCE.

    Kentucky Names New Director
    July 2008 - Gov. Steven L. Beshear today announced the appointment of John W. Heltzel of Lawrenceburg as Executive Director of Kentucky's Division of Emergency Management (KyEM).  Heltzel will begin his new duties immediately, overseeing the daily operation of the state's emergency management agency.  Most recently the president and managing partner of CyberDefenses, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based computer security firm, and a Brigadier General in the Kentucky Army National Guard, Heltzel was chief information officer for the Department of Military Affairs and Kentucky National Guard from 1984 to 2006.  He also previously served in the Division of Emergency Management as one the agency's initial Staff Duty Officers where he directly assisted in development of the first duty officer handbook and establishment of internal standing operating procedures. Read the full press release here.

    Illinois Seismic Safety Task Force Created
    May 2008 - Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich recently announced the formation of the Illinois Seismic Safety Task Force (SSTF).  The Task Force was created after the recent April 18, 2008 Mt. Carmel 5.2M earthquake that shook much of southern Illinois and was felt in as many as 18 states.  The Task Force will work to enhance mitigation measures in Illinois so homeowners and businesses can be better protected from damaging earthquakes.  Illinois joins Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee as states with seismic commissions in the CUSEC Member States.  Read the Official Press Release Here...

    NEHRP Strategic Plan Out for Public Review
    April 2008 - The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Interagency Coordinating Committee - FEMA, NIST, NSF and USGS - has approved the public release of the draft updated NEHRP Strategic Plan, for public review and comment. The draft plan is now available on the NEHRP web site: The NEHRP agencies invite you to review the plan and provide them with any comments you might have, no later than May 9, 2008. Following the closure of this public comment period, the NEHRP agencies will consider what edits might be appropriate for the plan prior to its adoption and complete the strategic planning process.

    National Earthquake Conference Approaching
    March 2008 - The 2008 National Earthquake Conference is quickly approaching.  This conferenc is being held in Seattle, Washington on April 22-26, 2008.  The conference is chaired by the four national earthquake and emergency consortia groups (NESEC, CUSEC, WSSPC, and CREW) funded by FEMA under the National Earthquake Program, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Commerce Council (EPICC) of British Columbia, Canada.  These four consortia along with EERI and EPICC, united to organize a national conference, to address the urgent problem of earthquake risk reduction. The conference is funded and supported by DHS/FEMA and USGS.  For more information on the conference, visit

    Disaster Medicine 101
    February 2008 - The Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is presenting a one-day class titled “Disaster Medicine 101:  Post-Earthquake Public Health and Medical Issues in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.”  It will be held April 10, 2008, in Sikeston, MO at the Clinton Building.   The class is a one-day general overview of public health concepts related to the earthquake threat in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.  It will be open to first responders, medical professionals, public health officials, emergency managers, and others concerned with public health issues following an earthquake. Class space is limited, so sign up today to ensure your spot!

    New State Director Appointed in Alabama
    Janaury 2008 - Alabama Governor Bob R. Riley appointed Brock Long as State Director of Alabama Emergency Management Agency in late January. Long comes to Alabama after working at the state and federal levels in hurricane planning and response. “Alabama is fortunate to be gaining someone with Brock’s level of experience, talent and energy,” said Governor Riley Long replaces acting Director John James who was appointed after Bruce Baughman retired after four and half years of service as State Director. James has served in local and state emergency management for nearly 20 years, and CUSEC wishes him well. As a Member State of CUSEC, Director Long will serve as a voting member of the CUSEC Board of Directors. Visit
    to read more about Albabma EMA.

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    Last Updated on Monday, 17 October 2016 19:18