Inside This Issue
5 Million Participate in ShakeOut
Indiana I-BEAM Exercise
K-12 Earthquake Webinar Recording Posted
Combined Federal Campaign
FEMA-154 Updates Coming
ICDE Conference
Calendar & Upcoming Events

CAPSTONE-14 After-Action Report Now Available Online 

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.  These recommendations include: 

  • Advancing partnerships to support new emergency management concepts such as the virtual Business Emergency Operation Center (vBEOC), Mutual Aid Support System (MASS), and a regional Common Operating Picture (COP)
  • Identifying and pre-assigning public and private sector resources that can be used throughout region during a disaster
  • Continuing to review State and Federal requirements for resource allocation
  • Refining processes and tools for information sharing
  • Examining alternative, redundant systems for interstate communications 
  • Enhancing coordination with public and private transportation sector partners 
  • Integrating military partners into regional emergency preparedness and response efforts
  • Conducting regular planning, training, exercising, and evaluation to further earthquake risk reduction in the central U.S.

The progress made during CAPSTONE-14 will enhance mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities to this potentially devastating threat.  At the same time, the lessons learned and best practices outlined in the CAPSTONE-14 AAR are also applicable for all hazards across the U.S., especially complex, large-scale disasters.


The exercise summary, lessons learned, and recommendations can all be reviewed by downloading the 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.  

Nearly 5 Million Participate in Regional ShakeOut Earthquake Drills 


On Thursday, 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 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 the regional drills, more than 20 million people participated nationwide. 


For the ShakeOut, CUSEC led and participated in several events to promote earthquake awareness, mitigation, and preparedness throughout the region.  These included a webinar (detailed below) on earthquake preparedness and mitigation for schools, press conferences at the National Building Museum and National Cathedral, a ShakeOut drill at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and another drill at a local school in Memphis, Tennessee.


Several participating States had notable achievements during the 2014 ShakeOut.  For the second year in a row, Virginia was only second in the Nation to California in total number of participants (more than 1 million participants in 2013 and 2014).  Tennessee increased participation of colleges and universities by more than 200%, with more than 30 institutions of higher education participating in some way.  In North Carolina, participation by K-12 schools increased by nearly 300%, the largest increase in the Nation.  Many of the other participating States also saw impressive increases in their participation rates for the ShakeOut.  We applaud these and all participants for their proactive approach to disaster preparedness.


The Great Central U.S. and Great Southeast ShakeOut Drills are coordinated annually by CUSEC, our Member and Associate States, FEMA, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and dozens of other partners. Participating States include: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C.  Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills began in California in 2008 and have expanded throughout the Nation and in several countries around the globe since then.


The ShakeOut now 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

Indiana Tests Post-Disaster Building Inspector Capabilities During Exercise

In late September, CUSEC and several Member States observed a full-scale exercise of the Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring Team (I-BEAM).  I-BEAM (featured in previous editions of the CUSEC Newsletter) is the Indiana State Fire Marshal and Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security's (IDHS) post-disaster building inspection program.  Over the past two years, I-BEAM worked closely with CUSEC and other Member States to enhance and strengthen regional building inspector capabilities.  Following a major New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake, it is estimated that nearly 8,000 trained building inspectors will be needed by the States affected, a major focus during the CAPSTONE-14 exercise.


I-BEAM invited CUSEC and the States of Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee, each with their own building inspector programs, to observe and participate in the exercise, which was held near Evansville in New Harmony, IN.  The exercise scenario was based on a Wabash Valley Seismic Zone earthquake in southwestern Indiana, and required the well-equipped I-BEAM team to test the entire spectrum of its capabilities.  During the week-long exercise I-BEAM tested:

  • Mobilization and deployment of its Emergency Response Mobile Command Unit
  • Setup and use of a self-sufficient communications center prototype (which integrates wind, solar, fuel and energy storage systems)
  • Mobilization, processing/credentialing, deployment, and logistics support of building inspectors
  • Building inspection and damage reporting procedures
I-BEAM team members inspect a building during the Sept. 2014 exercise in New Harmony, IN

Each day, inspector teams surveyed a number of buildings and used the exact procedures they would after an actual disaster.  At the command center, operations personnel coordinated briefings, inspector deployments, and communications. During the exercise, Ben Ross of the Missouri SAVE Coalition provided "just-in-time" training to inspectors on the use of GPS devices to capture damaged building locations and status.  This information was then used to quickly provide visual situational awareness in the I-BEAM command center.


According to CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson, "CUSEC is excited to build upon the lessons learned from the I-BEAM exercise and we hope to continue and broaden this multi-state collaboration well into the future. We would like to thank the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security, Indiana State Fire Marshal and the IDHS Fire and Building Safety Division for their hospitality and for sharing their expertise with CUSEC and our Member States."


CUSEC would also like to thank Dean Illingworth, James Hawkins, Randall Cooley, and Karrie Cashdollar (all of IDHS) who were the primary organizers of the exercise.

Replay of Earthquake Webinar for K-12 Schools Available Online

In October, CUSEC, the USGS, and FEMA hosted K-12 school district administrators and principals during a webinar entitled Shaken: A Remarkable Story of Community Resilience.  Now available for viewing online, the webinar centered around Louisa County Public School's (LCPS) response and recovery following the August 23, 2011 M5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake and ways schools can reduce their vulnerabilities to earthquakes.


Keynote presenter and LCPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Pettit highlighted the most important impact to this small, rural Virginia community-the complete loss of the use of two public schools on the seventh day of a new school year. This loss represented 40% of the district's student capacity, presenting the District with the enormous challenge of continuing the rest of the school year.


Pettit reflected on how students, parents, and teachers adjusted to a variety of challenges as the district sought to provide a quality education for K-12 students.  She also noted that while no lives were lost, the already close-knit community needed to work together intentionally to maintain a sense of normalcy as it rebuilt.  Dr. Pettit shared several lessons learned that other schools can benefit from, such as:

  • Appropriately responding  to the media, parents, and Government officials following a disaster
  • Involving parents and students in the recovery process
  • Addressing the psychological toll on students and those involved in response and recovery

Pettit also noted that with the help of many dedicated administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students, the community is on its way towards completing its recovery from the earthquake.  Thomas Jefferson Elementary School re-opened this fall and Louisa County High School will re-open for the 2015-2016 school year, four years after the quake struck. 


Bob Spears, retired Director of Emergency Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), shared lessons he learned while working in the nation's 2nd largest public school district.  In his presentation, he shared strategies for:

  • Parent communication and parent/student reunification
  • Easy-to-identify opportunities for earthquake mitigation
  • Pre-earthquake building inventory and Post-earthquake safety inspections
  • Improving earthquake/disaster planning and safety drills

Spears mentioned that he and his team took advantage of ShakeCast and ShakeMap, programs designed by the USGS that have helped LAUSD prioritize resources following earthquakes.


Dale Cox, with the USGS Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Program, gave an overview of SAFRR which is designed to use new and existing scientific research towards natural hazard risk reduction.  Cox mentioned several SAFRR products (ShakeOut, Earthquake Scenarios, Hazard Maps, etc.) that schools can use to reduce vulnerabilities to earthquakes. 


We would like to thank Dr. Pettit, Mr. Spears, and Mr. Cox for their time and insights on earthquake risk reduction.  To view the webinar and download presentations, click here.

CUSEC is now on the Combined Federal Campaign

CUSEC is now a registered charitable organization in the Federal Government's "Combined Federal Campaign" (CFC).   If you are a Federal Government employee and would like to designate us through the CFC, open enrollment 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!

Updates Coming to the FEMA P-154 Rapid Visual Screening Program

On Friday, November 21, 2014, FEMA's National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) and the Applied Technology Council (ATC) will host a webinar to discuss updates to the FEMA P-154: Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards handbook and methodology.


Revisions to the third edition of this handbook include: improvements in the methodology, the screening form, and the underlying scoring. Webinar participants will hear about updates to FEMA P-154, including: 

  • the addition of a more detailed screening option
  • new quick reference guides
  • an electronic scoring option, and
  • guidance on how to administer an effective screening program

This webinar is limited to 500 registrants and is intended for individuals who have some experience or training with the previous editions and want a concise summary of what is new in the Third Edition. For more information and to register for the webinar visit:   

IDCE Announces Programming for 2015 Conference

The International Disaster Conference and Expo (IDCE) has announced its professional programming for its 2015 annual conference on February 10-12 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


In keeping with the conference's traditional purpose of bringing together leading public and private sector professionals to address issues pertaining to disaster mitigation; content for this meeting will focus on public-private partnerships as an essential part of planning, response and recovery efforts on a national and international level. Conference sessions will fit into one of five of the following educational tracks:

  • Animals in Disasters
  • Resiliency (Emergency Management, Response & Recovery, Business Continuity)
  • Public Health & Medical Management
  • Technology & Innovation (Next Generation 911, Social Media, Interoperability)
  • Insurance

Attendees can expect to hear presentations from international industry leaders who will highlight their experiences and lessons learned from following traumatic disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. For registration and conference information, visit the ICDE website at: 


November 2014 

Nov. 21 - Arkansas INSPARK Planning Meeting; N. Little Rock, AR 

Nov. 21 - FEMA154 Update Webinar 


December 2014

Dec. 9 - CUSEC Earthquake Program Managers Meeting; Prattville, AL 


January 2015

Jan. 7-8 - CUSEC Board of Directors Meeting; Nashville, TN 

Jan. 12 - Arkansas INSPARK Building Inspector Training; Jonesboro, AR

Jan. 16 - Arkansas Governor's Earthquake Advisory Council Meeting; Jonesboro, AR


February 2015 (Earthquake Awareness Month)

February 5 - Missouri Seismic Safety Commission Meeting; St. Louis, MO

February 6 - QuakeSmart Business Seminar; St. Louis, MO

February 10-12 - Intl. Disaster Conference & Expo; New Orleans, LA 


For more information or to view other upcoming events, please visit the CUSEC website online calendar.
The Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Our primary mission is "the reduction of deaths, injuries, property damage and economic losses resulting from earthquakes in the Central United States". For more information about us, please visit or contact us at (901) 544-3570.
Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, 2630 E. Holmes Road, Memphis, TN 38118
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