Inside This Issue
Ride the Fault Line
TEMA Communications Exercise
NEMA Earthquake Subcommittee
National Mitigation Workshop
New CAPSTONE-14 Video
CUSEC Spotlight
New FEMA Report Available
Calendar & Upcoming Events
With recovery efforts underway, the April 25 M7.8 earthquake near Kathmandu, Nepal serves as a solemn reminder that devastating earthquakes can happen at any time.   It is important that all individuals are prepared to respond quickly to earthquakes and other disasters they may face-regardless of where they may live, work, or travel. 

Following a disaster, community sustainability hinges upon a population's ability to return to their homes, businesses, and places of worship.  Many structures in the central United States were built before seismic design provisions were in place and it is vital that we continue to make improvements and apply lessons learned from international earthquakes. The Nepal earthquake reminds us of the importance of adopting strong building codes and improving construction practices to lessen the impacts of all disasters. 

As we continue to advance these important issues, our thoughts are with all those who are affected by and responding to the Nepal earthquake.  If you would like to aid in the relief efforts to this event, please consider a donation to a disaster relief organization such as the American Red Cross (ARC) or the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
This summer, CUSEC is teaming up with organizers of a unique bicycle tour named Ride the Fault Line, scheduled for June 14-20, 2015.

First launched in 2013, Ride the Fault Line is a seven day bicycle tour through the Mississippi River Valley flatlands of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. During this week-long tour, cyclists take in the sights and sounds of nature as well as learn the history of these four great states. Most importantly, they will get to learn about the impact and significance of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812 and what is being done to protect citizens and infrastructure from modern day quakes.

CUSEC will provide presentations and earthquake safety and mitigation information to participants at a kick-off event in New Madrid, Missouri on June 13.  The kick-off is being held in conjunction with tour organizers, the City of New Madrid, and the New Madrid Historical Museum.  Several of our Member States including the Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee Geological Surveys, as well as the US Geological Survey (USGS), will also participate in the event and provide earthquake information to ride participants.  

In addition to raising awareness of the history of the area, Ride the Fault Line organizer Rodney McConnell said the event serves one more purpose.  "We also wanted to create tourism opportunities for the very small communities in economically challenged areas of southeastern Missouri, west Kentucky, northeast Arkansas and west Tennessee," he said.

An estimated 200-300 cyclists will participate in the ride this year.  You can find out more information about Ride the Fault Line at
This week, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is conducting its TEMA/AuxCom Exercise. The exercise will demonstrate the capability of emergency responders to receive data communications not dependent on the internet, while allowing agencies to deploy their SHARES, MARS and/or Amateur Radio Winkink 2000 contingency communications plans.

As a follow-up activity and continuation of CUSEC's CAPSTONE-14 initiative, the exercise is based upon a catastrophic New Madrid earthquake scenario, impacting millions of people in the central U.S.  With participation from emergency management officials and AuxCom volunteers, the goals of the exercise are to:
  • Train to deploy and use equipment necessary for providing auxiliary communications
  • Train auxiliary communicators in the systems and procedures
  • Coordinate exercise participation and communication using voice networks
  • Demonstrate the ability to provide communications support to served agencies
Although participants have already been selected for this exercise, anyone interested in becoming an Amateur Radio Operator can contact your Local or State Emergency Management Agency or visit the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website to find a local amateur radio club.
NEMA Forming Earthquake Subcommittee
The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Mitigation Committee met in March to discuss the creation of an earthquake-focused subcommittee. Representing the three FEMA earthquake consortia-CUSEC, the Northeast States Emergency Consortium (NESEC) and the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC)- and their Member State Earthquake Program Managers, CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson briefed the Mitigation Committee about the proposed structure of the subcommittee including member representation, focus areas, and goals. 

The intent of the subcommittee is to focus broadly on earthquake-related issues that fall within mitigation, response, recovery, and preparedness areas and to provide an emergency management-focused platform for discussion among the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) partners.  

In addition, Wilkinson highlighted NEMA's supporting activities, and with the formation of this subcommittee, he is encouraged that NEHRP visibility will continue to increase.  "I think the creation of this subcommittee is a critical step in strengthening the earthquake program position within emergency management," he said.

The subcommittee was formed following the 2014 National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting (NEPM) in Denver, Colorado.  During the meeting, Alabama State Director Art Faulkner requested that a white paper be written that would outline the current status of the earthquake program from a State perspective. The paper was written and later adopted by NEMA at their annual meeting in the fall of 2014. This adoption prompted NEMA President Brian Koon to suggest the creation of a NEMA Earthquake Subcommittee. 

As plans continue to come together for the formation of this subcommittee, up-to-date information will be posted in the CUSEC newsletter as well as on the NEPM website,


In March of 2015, CUSEC, along with more than 50 other governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as the private sector, participated in a workshop to "Review the Strategies of Federal Agencies to Encourage Local Adoption of Disaster-Resistant Codes and Standards to Improve Resiliency Nationwide".


The workshop was hosted by the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and the building code workgroup of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG); with funding support from FEMA. The primary objectives of this workshop was to obtain input on increasing the Nation's resilience against natural disasters and identifying Federal strategies and approaches to encourage state and local adoption of current disaster-resistant building codes.  


The recommendations, strategies, and approaches discussed in this workshop will be detailed in a report to be used by FEMA in support of MitFLG activities.



Earlier this month, CUSEC, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), and the National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC) released a short video on CUSEC's CAPSTONE-14 earthquake exercise. CAPSTONE-14 involved eighteen States, the Federal Government, and more than 40 private sector entities and lifeline service providers. During the lead-up and execution of the exercise, States developed systems to test regional issues such as communications, situational awareness, transportation, and several other emergency management functions.


The video demonstrates exercise activities and provides an inside look at State Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) as emergency management officials tested their capabilities in response to a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). The video provides an overview of:

  • Functional areas of focus of the exercise
  • Model test of the Safecom Interoperability Continuum (SIC)
  • Use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Essential Elements of Information (EEIs)

With its achievements and "operational leave behinds", CAPSTONE-14 serves as a national model of excellence for any emergency management exercise.   For more information, you can view the CUSEC CAPSTONE-14 After-Action Report at or watch the video at  




David Maxwell was appointed to the Director of Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and State Homeland Security Advisor in June of 2006. Until this appointment, Maxwell had served in the position of ADEM's Deputy Director since March of 2002 and has more than 33 years of service with the agency.  


Maxwell serves on the CUSEC Board of Directors as Vice-Chairman, and has been actively involved with CUSEC since our establishment in 1983. As Director, he chairs the Arkansas Homeland Security Executive Committee and serves on a number of other state committees. He is also a past-president of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) and now serves as an advisor to the current president. During his nearly 40 year career in this field, he has worked ten federally declared disasters and one federally declared emergency. Maxwell earned his Master's Degree in Sociology from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and has a Bachelor's Degree from Arkansas Tech University.


You have more than 33 years of service with ADEM, what has been your most memorable experience since you've worked there? I worked disasters (Individual Assistance) when I first started and I still remember some of the first disaster victims (survivors in today's language). Those memories keep me focused on the fact that while it matters how well we work the programs, we must always remember the faces or the people those programs serve.

You've worked with CUSEC since its establishment in 1983. In your opinion, how has working with this organization benefited ADEM's state earthquake program? Without CUSEC, I suspect our program would still be working on selling the idea that earthquake is a threat in Arkansas. With CUSEC, we have just finished four days of an intense response exercise and a half day tabletop exercise on recovery that will point the way for improvements for the next few years when we will test again in 2017.

How do you respond to people who don't take earthquake emergency preparedness and mitigation seriously? I am constantly surprised by seemingly educated people who have no idea there is an earthquake threat in the central US. We have to do whatever we can to reach those individuals that might learn, to expose the history of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. We are lucky in Arkansas that mitigation is generally taken seriously. Over the last several years, the number of safe rooms (individual, community or school) built in our state using federal, state and local funding is a testament to the understanding of mitigation.

My concern is there is just not enough funding to do all the needed projects. We could spend all available funding on earthquake mitigation and not reach a level of protection in which any of us could say we are done. We have so many other hazards to mitigate against that it becomes a decision of where we can do the most good for the most people.

How has working in public service been rewarding for you?
The most rewarding aspect has been through the people I have met. I have seen people moments after a disaster, in the worst situation they could ever imagine, standing up and refusing to quit. I have seen dedicated staff and partners working long hours in difficult conditions with a sole focus of ensuring our citizens get the quickest, most appropriate and best response to a disaster situation.

It has also been an honor to serve on the Board of CUSEC with a number of extremely talented and dedicated directors.

FEMA P-1024 Now Available Online

FEMA has recently announced its FEMA P-1024: Performance of Buildings and Nonstructural Components in the 2014 South Napa Earthquake is now available online. The 6.0M earthquake occurred just five miles south/southwest of Napa, California on the morning of August 24th and greatly impacted Napa, Vallejo, and surrounding areas.  


The National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP), along with the Applied Technology Council (ATC), brought together a team of engineers to assess and document the performance of impacted buildings and to develop recommendations to further improve building codes and seismic mitigation practices. This project focused on performance of:

  • Seismic retrofitting, particularly for unreinforced masonry buildings
  • Nonstructural components
  • Residential construction, manufactured housing, modern commercial buildings, healthcare facilities and schools

FEMA P-1024 is available for download in the FEMA library at:  


May 2015
May 4-8 - Natl.  Earthquake Program Managers Meeting; Charleston, SC
May 27-29 - Mississippi Preparedness Summit; Biloxi, MS
May 28 - ATC20 Train-the-Trainer; Rogers, AR

June 2015
June 13-20 - Ride The Fault Line Bicycle Tour; AR, KY, MO, &TN
June 25-26 - CUSEC Board of Directors Meeting; Mobile, AL

July 2015
July 7-8 - CUSEC Working Group Planning Meetings; Memphis, TN
July 19-22 - 40th Annual Natural Hazards Workshop; Broomfield, CO

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.