Inside This Issue
EQ Awareness Month
FEMA Building Codes Toolkit
TEMA Leads Multi-State Exercise
CUSEC Spotlight: Elaine Clyburn
Upcoming Events
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Did You Feel It?

View a list of recent earthquakes here...
Mitigation Matters
Interested in learning how to reduce or eliminate the impacts of natural disasters? 

FEMA has a new publication: "Mitigation Ideas:  A Resource for Reducing Risk to Natural Hazards"

The focus of this document is mitigation, which is action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to hazards.  It provides a resource that individuals and communities can use to identify and evaluate a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters including earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and more. 

To download this new publication, visit the FEMA website today.
Geocache Update

Spring is here, and it's a great time to get outside.  What better way to spend time with your family than to go Geocaching

Since 2007, more than 2,000 people have visited CUSEC geocaches, which provide earthquake safety and mitigation info to site visitors.  As one visitor recently noted: 

"This may be the most important cache in the country. The information could save lives. We've already viewed the DVD and definitely learned a great deal about what to do if "THE BIG ONE" happens in our lifetime."

To find a CUSEC geocache near you, see our cache listing page at the geocaching website.

Earthquake Awareness Month Recap 

In observance of Earthquake Awareness Month, CUSEC and our Member States participated in a variety of activities throughout the month of February. Events ranged from seminars and workshops to safety preparedness fairs and the 3rd annual Great Central US ShakeOut.   


Earthquake Awareness Month kicked off with the 20th annual "Earthquakes: Mean Business" seminar, held at St. Louis University on February 1. This event is designed to raise awareness of earthquake hazards and earthquake risk in the central United States, and explain how those living and working in this region can better prepare for future events. The program included featured speakers from academia, the private sector, and the US Geological Survey (USGS).  Presentations included:

  • Mega & Moderate Earthquakes: Lessons from the Past 10 Years
  • Mitigation Lessons Learned : Will the Lights Stay On?
  • Christchurch, NZ Earthquakes: Business Challenges & Resilience
  • Earthquake! Getting Back to School - 2011 Mineral, VA Earthquake
  • A Perspective on the Seismic Safety of Schools

The event was sponsored by FEMA, Missouri SEMA, NEHRP, St. Louis University, and URS Corporation. "Earthquakes: Mean Business" is held annually on the first Friday in February in St. Louis, Missouri. Stay tuned to for information on next year's program.


2013 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut 

On February 7, 2013 more than 2.9 million people practiced "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" during the 3rd annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. ShakeOut drills took place at thousands of locations across nine different states. One of the "main events" for the 2013 ShakeOut took place at DeSoto Central Primary School in Southaven, Mississippi.  


At the event, Directors of CUSEC, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Geological Survey, the US Geological Survey, along with members of DeSoto County Emergency Management and the Southaven Fire Department, were on hand to talk with students about the importance of being ready for earthquakes and other disasters.  Drills were held at all DeSoto County schools, which is the largest district in the state. 


In the days before the drill, the school prepared for the ShakeOut by reading earthquake related books, having class discussions, and creating posters about earthquake safety. According to Principal Colleen Long, school teachers regularly emphasize to students the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Being highlighted during the ShakeOut made a big impression on the students, teachers, and staff at the school.


"We have earthquake drills every year, but the excitement of the teachers in preparing the students to shine for all of our visitors made everyone feel very special," Long said. "Due to our participation in the ShakeOut, everyone paid closer attention to anything relating to earthquakes. We truly do have a new respect for them," she added.


CUSEC would like to thank all who participated or led drills during the ShakeOut. We continuously highlight the importance of being prepared before, during, and after earthquakes and other disasters, and the ShakeOut is a great way to practice what to do before the inevitable happens. Stay tuned for big news on future ShakeOut plans.

Building Codes Toolkit now Available
Image Source:  US Geological Survey
Structural damage to building caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

The FEMA Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch has recently announced a  Building Codes Toolkit - a central online page that will allow individuals and communities to better understand building codes, their value to occupant safety and community resilience, and building code tools and resources currently available for a variety of audiences.


Adopting modern building codes and ensuring proper construction practices are two of the best strategies individuals, organizations, and communities can use 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:
Tennessee Leads Successful Multi-State Exercise

Also in February, CUSEC States, led by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), conducted a highly successful 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 this and says the agency plans to test multi-state 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 in advance of CAPSTONE-14.

CUSEC Spotlight:  Five Questions with Elaine Clyburn

After more than 40 years of service with the American Red Cross, Elaine Clyburn has pretty much seen it all. She has worked on more than 46 Disaster Relief Operations and served in a variety of leadership positions, including Interim Director of the Disaster Operations Center during the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although she is now retired, Elaine still actively volunteers with the Red Cross in earthquake planning and response, serving as the organization's lead for the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) planning group.  She also participates in many earthquake preparedness initiatives while serving on the West Tennessee Seismic Safety Commission. Read below why Elaine Clyburn dedicates her time and energy to service in disaster preparedness.


When did you start working at the Red Cross and what made you pursue disaster services as a career track? I started as a national sector paid staff in September 1969 but it was not until 4 years later that I changed my career path to Disaster Services. 


I did not choose a career in disaster services -it chose me. Disaster response was considered an "additional duty" for many national sector staff especially when a major disaster required and "all-hands" response. The Disaster Services program fit well with my available time and my skills. I was assigned a mentor who modeled what I wanted to become-a helper, a coach and an inspiration. 


In your years at the Red Cross, what is the most memorable case you have worked OR what things have you seen that stood out? My most memorable experience has not happened yet. The "most" is always somewhere on the horizon. However, participating in the 2011/2012 New Madrid Earthquake Bicentennial activities as a Red Crosser is way up there.


What lessons  have you learned from the many people and organizations that you've worked with, over the years? One of my hobbies is working picture puzzles. Each piece contributes to the total picture; no puzzle is complete if any of the pieces are missing. In the world of disasters we call that "partnerships" or "force multipliers" or "whole community". 


What do you say to people who don't take emergency preparedness seriously, especially earthquake preparedness?  Disasters have happened. Disasters will happen. If people can't bring themselves to believe in earthquakes I am not alarmed as long as they believe that bad things can and do happen and that they can be a part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.


You now volunteer at the Red Cross even though you are "retired".   What motivates you to keep working in Disaster Services?  94% of the work done by the Red Cross is done by volunteers. There is a song that says: "Welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like but you can never leave". That describes my Red Cross career.   The Red Cross has invested in me and I have invested in it.  I hope that I can continue to be an effective return on investment.


Click here to watch a one-on-one interview with Elaine, filmed in 2012.

April 2013
4/16 - Health & Safety Fair; Caruthersville, MO
4/20 - Earth Day & Safety Fair; Jackson, TN
4/23 - 25th Annual Missouri EMA Conference; St. Charles, MO
4/30 - National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting; Seattle, WA


May 2013

5/1-2 - National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting; Seattle, WA
5/13-14 - Association of CUSEC State Geologists Meeting; St. Louis, MO

June 2013

6/5 - CAPSTONE-14 Initial Planning Conference; Indianapolis, IN


To view more upcoming events, please visit our website calendar.