Find us Online:

Follow us on Twitter  Like us on Facebook  View our videos on YouTube
Inside This Issue
National Preparedness Month
Great ShakeOut coming in October
ROVER Webinar
CUSEC Spotlight: Mr. John Erickson, IDHS
Calendar & Upcoming Events
Did You Feel It?

View a list of recent earthquakes here...
Geocache Update

Now is a great time to spend outdoors with your family and friends by going Geocaching

Since 2007, more than 2,150 people have visited CUSEC geocaches, which provide earthquake safety and mitigation info to site visitors.  As some visitors recently noted: 

"Taking back info to share with our kids, we love educational caches!

"Camping in the State Park and decided to try to find some close caches. Love the area!"

"What a pleasant surprise this (geocache) was!

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

National Preparedness Month Since 2004, FEMA has designated the month of September as National Preparedness Month (NPM). Now is a great time to prepare yourself and those in your care for disasters. The most important step you can take to help your community respond to a disaster is to be ready to take care of yourself before the next one strikes.


This September, we encourage you to plan and prepare for being without food, electricity, or water service (or access to a grocery or other local services) for at least three days.  You may also consider preparing to be on your own for up to 7-10 days for more catastrophic events. Doing so will help you be better prepared for earthquakes and other emergency situations. Just follow these four steps to get started:

  • Be Informed: Visit to learn what to do before, during, and after a variety of hazards and emergencies.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with your family or those in your care. This should include where you will go and how you will communicate with your family.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies - water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand - to last for at least three days for you and those in your care.   Also consider making a kit for your car and workplace.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved in disaster preparedness activities in your community. You can join a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), start a Map Your Neighborhood initiative, or talk with your State Citizen Corps Council about ways to become more involved.

Additionally, in 2013 we are joining with FEMA to encourage individuals and organizations to "Pledge to Prepare" by joining the National Preparedness Community. By joining, you'll receive resources and up-to-date information on preparedness activities in your community.  


Take the pledge today by visiting: 

"Great ShakeOut" Earthquake Drills set to occur
Nationwide on October 17...

Following FEMA's National Preparedness Month, individuals and communities in more than 43 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 17, 2013 at 10:17 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
Demonstration of Drop, Cover, and Hold On by LAFD
Demonstration of Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Nationwide, more than 12.5 million people are expected to participate in earthquake drills and safety activities on Oct. 17. In addition to the drills, many participant take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to first register to participate at 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, in coordination with our Member and Associate States, leads regional activities for the Great Central U.S. and Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. Oct. 17 marks the fourth Central U.S. ShakeOut drill taking place in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee. For the SouthEast ShakeOut, now in its second year, participating states include 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

CUSEC and FEMA lead ROVER Webinar

CUSEC, in partnership with FEMA, recently hosted nearly 100 people at an informational webinar on the "end-to-end" seismic risk management software tool known as ROVER (Rapid Observation of Vulnerability and Estimation of Risk). Developed by FEMA, ROVER is a free, open-source and platform independent software tool that can be used to identify buildings with potential seismic risks (before an earthquake) and perform building safety evaluations (after an earthquake).


During the webinar, Gene Longenecker (FEMA) provided an overview of methodologies used in the ROVER software and background on why this tool is needed by communities and facility owners. Mike Tong, Ph.D (ROVER project manager with FEMA) and Keith Porter, Ph.D (SPA Risk LLC) explained ROVER's various capabilities including:

  • Ease-of-Use on multiple devices (smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.)
  • Using ROVER to identify mitigation opportunities, before an earthquake
  • Using ROVER to automate/digitize post-earthquake building inspections


Doug Bausch (FEMA) explained how ROVER has been used to perform seismic building inventory studies to identify potentially unsafe structures in Utah and Wyoming. Barry Welliver, S.E. (BHW Engineers) elaborated on this effort and how the Utah Seismic Safety Commission (USSC) has championed a seismic safety study of schools in Utah using ROVER. Many school buildings in the state are made of unreinforced masonry (brick) construction, which are particularly vulnerable to earthquake shaking. In the central U.S. there are an estimated 1-2 million unreinforced masonry buildings.


Using ROVER, USSC identified that of the buildings surveyed (about 10% of the public schools in the state), around 60% were at risk for considerable damage following an earthquake. Because of the study, the USSC will be able to help State leaders create plans for mitigating these potential losses to life and property. To learn more about this study, visit  


For more information on how to download and use ROVER or about the ROVER Ready Alliance, visit     Click here to watch a recording of the webinar (Internet Explorer and high speed internet connection recommended).  

CUSEC Spotlight: Five Questions with John Erickson
of the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security  


As Senior Public Information Officer for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) John Erickson manages the flow of information within and outside of the agency along with organizing IDHS' participation in emergency management and community activities. John has an extensive background in public relations, and joined IDHS in 2007. In the past few years, John has been a key leader for the Great Central U.S. Shakeout, championing IDHS' efforts to improve earthquake safety in the Hoosier State. In doing so, John works closely with CUSEC, the Indiana Geological Survey, and the Indiana Department of Education to involve nearly 75% of K-12 schools in this important safety activity.


1. When did your career in public relations begin and what led you to pursue this work? I started working in public relations in 1992.  I always enjoyed reading, viewing and listening to the news, even at a young age. It's an exciting business, and the thought of being someone who brings the news to people was intriguing. So I trained as a journalist, and found it an easy transition to public relations. Even now when I hire people, if I can find someone who can write, the rest can usually be taught. If a candidate can't write, it's unlikely they'll be successful in this business.


2. How did you come to work for IDHS and what has been your most memorable experience since you've worked there? Actually, my employment at the agency happened pretty much like it happens for most people. A PIO position became available, and it looked very interesting. I applied for it and was selected. As for my most memorable experience, I don't necessarily have one because throughout the disasters, emergencies, other crises, drills, exercises, outreach, education and myriad other aspects of the job, the common thread that's held my interest has been helping people. It can be challenging, but when you can connect people to a concept such as preparedness, or fire safety or other actions of self-reliance, it's gratifying.   


3. You've worked with many different people and organizations (CUSEC in particular), what lessons have you learned that have helped you in your career? Being nice is at least as important as being smart and knowing your job. There are many smart, capable people who do not work well with others, and I've seen that severely damage a career or worse yet, hinder an agency from reaching necessary goals. It's along the lines of the communications message most of us in public relations and public information hear often: "People want to know that you care before they care what you know."


4. How do you deal with people who don't take emergency preparedness seriously?  Yes, there are a number people who don't prepare, and it's a concern. While I try to stress being ready, I also try to let people know that if they can prepare, they should, so efforts can concentrate on more vulnerable populations. I also point out to them that there are not enough responders to take care of everyone if something catastrophic would happen. Regarding earthquakes, I tell them that if they're preparing for an earthquake, they're preparing for a tornado, flood or snowstorm, which Hoosiers face nearly every year.


5. How has working in public safety been rewarding for you? Helping people continues to be the most gratifying part of the job. In public information, some of that means public education and outreach, and risk and crisis communication. It means training and being ready if an incident were to occur. I greatly enjoy working with other public information professionals to hone our skills so we can do our very best for the citizens of Indiana.

Calendar & Upcoming Events

September 2013 

September 1-30 - National Preparedness Month
September 20 - ATC-20 Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluations of Buildings; Little Rock, Arkansas  


October 2013
October 6-12 - National Fire Prevention Week
October 17 - Earthquake Public Forum; Memphis, Tennessee
October 17 - Great Central U.S. ShakeOut & Great SouthEast ShakeOut
October 19 - Ready Shelby Day; Memphis, Tennessee
October 21-25 - CAPSTONE-14 Regional Transportation & GIS (PRECAP) Workshop; Nashville, Tennessee
October 25 - ATC-20 Post-Earthquake Safety Evaluations of Buildings; Fayetteville, Arkansas


November 2013
November 3 - CUSEC Board of Directors Meeting; Little Rock, Arkansas
November 4-5 - Resource Allocation/Mutual Aid Support System Workshop (RAWII); Little Rock, Arkansas


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