Inside This Issue
TEMA Director Retires
America's PrepareAthon!
Earthscope Array Near Completion
FEMA NEHRP Releases 2013 Report
Calendar & Upcoming Events
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Did You Feel It?

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

A great way to spend time outdoors with your family and friends is by going Geocaching

Since 2007, nearly 2,500 people have visited CUSEC geocaches, which provide earthquake safety and mitigation information to site visitors.  As some visitors recently noted: 

"Thanks for the educational cache, CUSEC.

"Wow...very interesting (materials) inside..."

"Nice to see well done caches like this one.  You don't see many (this nice) anymore.

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


Earlier this month, CUSEC Board Member Major General (ret.) James Bassham retired from his position as Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). With his 11 years at the helm of TEMA, Bassham's career in public service has spanned more than 50 years, including 40 in the military. From 1995-2002 he served as the Assistant Adjutant General, Air, for the Tennessee Air National Guard. Bassham retired from military service in 2002 with the Legion of Merit and a host of other medals and recognitions.


While at TEMA, Bassham led the agency in obtaining a permanent national accreditation status by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). At that time, Tennessee was one of only 12 states that had achieved this honor. Bassham also led TEMA through numerous presidentially declared disasters including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, tornado outbreaks in 2006, 2008, and 2011, the Nashville flood of 2010 and the Mississippi River flood in 2011.


With his appointment as TEMA Director in August of 2003, Bassham joined the CUSEC Board of Directors and served as an Officer on numerous occasions, including Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2009. Bassham has been a consistent champion of CUSEC and our efforts to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damages related to earthquakes and other disasters. He has worked tirelessly to improve all of our Member States' abilities to respond and recover from disasters, especially during the New Madrid Catastrophic Planning Initiative and the CAPSTONE-14 Exercise, scheduled for this June.


CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson notes, "It's always a pleasure working with the State Directors that make up the CUSEC Board, but from time to time there's one that stands out.  Gen. Bassham is one such Director.  His unwavering support and belief in CUSEC's mission has been an inspiration to our staff and fellow Board Members."


On behalf of the entire CUSEC Staff and Board of Directors, we would like to wish General Bassham well as he retires from public service. We would also like to welcome Mr. David Purkey to the CUSEC Board, who is serving as interim TEMA Director following General Bassham's retirement.  


Please see the CUSEC Spotlight article below to learn more about General Bassham and his thoughts on 50 years of serving the public. 


America's PrepareAthon! is a nationwide, community-based program designed to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions and exercises conducted at the national level every fall and spring.  


The first "National Day of Action" for the PrepareAThon! is scheduled for April 30 and will revolve around taking actions to prepare for four specific hazards: tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes.  


The goal of this program is to increase the number of individuals who:

  • Understand which disasters could happen in their community
  • Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
  • Take action to increase their preparedness
  • Participate in community resilience planning

If you are interested in learning more about America's PrepareAthon!, visit  You can also get PrepareAThon! updates on Twitter by following @PrepareAthon



Now moving up the east coast, the EarthScope Transportable Array (TA) stations are scheduled to complete their journey across mainland U.S. in 2015.  As previously reported in the CUSEC newsletter, the Transportable Array Installation Plan (also known as the US Array) is a network of 400 broadband seismometers that have been traveling from west to east across the United States every two years since 2004.


With primary funding support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Incorporated Research Institute for Seismology (IRIS), these 400 seismometers, so far, have provided scientists with insight about  how earthquakes occur in various parts of the country.  You can see in the map here that eastern Kentucky and eastern Indiana are the only remaining CUSEC Member States with Transportable Array stations.


A working group was formed in 2011 that included representatives from EarthScope, IRIS, Regional Seismic Networks (RSN), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Association of CUSEC State Geologists and a host of other professional organizations. Their goal was to develop a prioritized list of up to 250 TA stations east of approximately longitude 100W that would benefit from permanent or extended deployment. The key factors in identifying those stations were:

  • Distribution of TA stations within regions of elevated seismic hazards 
  • Proximity of TA stations to critical facilities, with an emphasis on critical facilities in areas of higher seismic hazards 
  • Distribution of TA stations across the CEUS for improved areal coverage in order to lower the overall detection 
The first of a five year program to leave about 150 of these stations behind continues to be funded through NSF to IRIS for continued operation. It is currently unknown what will happen to those stations after five years, but it is possible that they could be integrated into the permanent operations of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS).
To learn more about Earthscope's US Array Installation Plan, visit


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:


To view or download other FEMA NEHRP publications and products, visit their Earthquake Publications website at:


After more than 50 years of public service in the military and emergency management, Major General (Ret.) James Bassham has responded to disasters of all sizes.  After recently retiring from his position as Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, General Bassham sat down with CUSEC to provide us a better understanding of his life and experiences "in the trenches".  


1.  What led you to pursue a career in the military; then later on, shifting gears into working in emergency management?  

As a freshman at the University of Arkansas, I learned that ROTC was a required course and as I progressed in my freshman and sophomore years I became attracted to the discipline and sense of mission that I saw in the military.  I then made the decision to pursue the Air Force commission through the advanced ROTC program and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduating from the University of Arkansas.  I think that the sense of mission and the membership of a team with a common goal was attractive to me.  


As far as entering the emergency management field, that was an opportunity that I did not anticipate but became very interested in when asked to consider.  I had a degree of knowledge of TEMA through my time in the Military Department and I just thought that this would be a challenging way to continue to serve.  At the time, I certainly did not expect for the emergency management career to last almost 11 years (which) have been the most satisfying of my 50 year professional career.


2.  In your time as TEMA State Director, what has been your most memorable experience since you've worked there?   

The most memorable experience, and there have been many memorable experiences, was the 2010 flooding that occurred in Tennessee.  That was a historic event for our State and the teamwork among the State Agencies was remarkable.  There is so much that goes into a massive response that never receives public recognition, but that is the nature of emergency management.


3.  You've worked with many different people and organizations (CUSEC in particular), what lessons have you learned that have helped you do your job better? 

The opportunity to work with CUSEC and the CUSEC Member States have been a blessing because it gives all of us an opportunity to see how best practices are applied in the individual states as well as a CUSEC team (Family) working regional issues.  CUSEC gives State Directors a natural sounding board with each other to help solve a myriad of challenges.


4.  How do you respond to people who don't take disaster preparedness or mitigation seriously? 

Public outreach for preparedness to an event that is generally not seen as immediate life threatening is certainly a challenge because the message competes with all of the daily noise and life in general.  I just think that the issue is about taking personal responsibility for your family.  To the extent that we can influence individual's personal priorities to include readiness and preparedness will save lives when the event occurs.  Anyone who is a head of a household has a responsibility to take care of that family.

5. How has working in public service been rewarding for you?

Well, I have been in public service pretty much nonstop for more than 50 years, almost 40 years in the military and almost 11 years in emergency management so that is pretty much what I know.  I think that the desire to serve and to meet the next challenge has defined my journey.  For sure you do not get rich financially but you certainly are enriched and blessed to have been around the other members of your team who have the same goals and the same values.

The ability to see first-hand the immediate impact of your actions during response is a reward within itself as well as the opportunity to share that feeling with the team members.

April 2014

April 29-30 - CUSEC Transportation Task Force Meeting; Sikeston, MO

April 30 - America's PrepareAthon! 


May 2014
May 19 - CUSEC Board CAPSTONE-14 Planning Teleconference
May 21-22 - National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting; Denver, CO
May 26 - Memorial Day 

June 2014
June 2 - CUSEC Board CAPSTONE-14 Planning Teleconference
June 16-20 - CAPSTONE-14 Multi-State Earthquake Exercise


For more information or to view other upcoming events, please visit the CUSEC website online calendar.