Inside This Issue
CUSEC States Participate in ShakeOut
2015: Year in Review
NEHRP Committee Report Available
Save the Date: 2016 Conference Schedule
As 2015 comes to a close, CUSEC would like to thank our many partners for your support and dedication to earthquake risk reduction during the past year. As in previous years, CUSEC and our Member and Associate States dedicated many hours and resources to improving earthquake awareness and education, mitigation, planning, and preparedness in the central U.S.

In 2016, CUSEC will continue to work with our States to carry over the momentum from the work and projects that were completed this year.  On behalf of CUSEC and our Board of Directors, please accept our best wishes for a happy holiday season and healthy New Year. 
In October, more than 5 million people participated in the Great Central U.S. and Great SouthEast ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.  The drills, part of a national and worldwide effort to increase earthquake preparedness and resilience, are held annually on the third Thursday of October. CUSEC serves as regional coordinator for ShakeOut efforts in these two regions, where our Member and Associate States are active ShakeOut champions and leaders. A record number in 2015 participated in the regional and worldwide ShakeOut drills.  We would like to thank all who participated in the ShakeOut, as well as the many individuals and organizations who made it possible by promoting it and encouraging others to participate.  Be sure to mark your calendars for October 20, 2016--the date of next year's ShakeOut.  

As a linked event of the 2015 ShakeOut, Ron Walker, Director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), invited representatives from other CUSEC Member States to participate in the Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition's post-earthquake safety assessment training and exercise in St. Louis, Missouri on October 16-17, 2015.
Missouri SEMA Director Ron Walker addresses participants prior to the Missouri SAVE training event in October 2015.
Hosted by the Missouri Air National Guard at Jefferson Barracks, this event was specifically designed as additional training for approximately 200 post-earthquake building inspector volunteers, many of whom are part of the CUSEC Building Inventory and Resource Deployment (BIRD) initiative. Representatives from all eight CUSEC Member States, as well as the Missouri Department of Transportation, local first responders, and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) attended. In his observation of this training event, Director Walker noted what stood out for him the most.
"What most impressed me is the teamwork," he said. "We had folks from eight states working together to organize this drill, inspect the buildings and report the findings, and they did a great job.  In a real event we'll rely heavily on each other, so now we know who we can contact to get expertise and assistance on the ground quickly," he added.
Missouri SAVE tested their volunteer call-down and mobilization procedures as well as simulated an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request for assistance from other CUSEC Member States. Arkansas, Indiana, and Mississippi practiced the steps needed to quickly offer, and accept (share) response-critical resources to Missouri under EMAC, which is a function of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). ALso of note was the first out-of-State deployment by the Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Management (IBEAM) Team.

IBEAM convoyed 12 vehicles, trailers, tents, generators, and a self-sustaining wind and solar-powered communications and command center. For other participating states, this was very realistic hands-on building assessment training. They used the national standard ATC-20 process, looking at actual buildings as well as photos with "photo-shopped" damage. It also gave them the opportunity to observe, learn from, and network with our two most capable post-earthquake building assessment programs.
Missouri SAVE Inspectors review procedures for post-earthquake safety evaluations of buildings. 
This event also allowed a "shakeout" of a Safety Assessment App being developed by CUSEC for post-earthquake ATC-20 building safety assessments, under a generous grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). The app can be downloaded onto smart phones or used from a browser to complete ATC-20 assessments, and transmit them via cell or Wi-Fi; where they can be quickly analyzed and displayed on a "Common Operating Picture" (COP) to include inspection results, photos, and other pertinent information.
The app can replace collecting/copying/data entry from cumbersome paper-based forms, greatly speeding and simplifying consolidation of inspection reports and providing results to incident managers. Participants were provided training and used the app to perform inspections. They saw the results of their inspections displayed on the COP, and provided feedback to assist with app development. Having such a large number of ATC-trained individuals available at one location was an unprecedented opportunity, and participant feedback will be used to enhance the development and improve future functionality.
Indiana IBEAM used the new CUSEC Common Operating Picture and Safety Assessment App to view real-time updates of simulated building damage. 
This was the first major regional event to showcase the capabilities, organization, and cooperation between CUSEC Member States, the Air National Guard, USACE, local first responders, and multiple volunteer groups needed to prepare for post-earthquake building assessments. However, if a series of major earthquakes like those of 1811-12 on the New Madrid Seismic Zone occurs, the central U.S. will more than likely need at least ten times the number of trained building inspectors that we have today.
Now that the CUSEC Board of Directors has made building inspection a Board Priority; more emphasis will be placed on recruitment, training, and retention of more volunteer inspectors. In his remarks following the event, Director Walker stated one of the most valuable assets to the Missouri SAVE Coalition are the many volunteers who commit their time by taking part in both training and real-world situations.

"These inspectors volunteer their time, so I want them to know how important they are to our response mission, and how grateful we are for their expertise and commitment," he said.  "The SAVE Coalition and its partners are ready to pull up stakes and respond, for days at a time, in very difficult situations.  That's a remarkable commitment, so they need to know they're appreciated and supported every step of the way," he added.
Click here for more information about the Missouri SAVE Coalition.
In 2015 and with primary funding support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), CUSEC supported our Member and Associate States in a variety of projects designed to better prepare individuals and communities in the central U.S. against earthquakes.  A sampling of projects completed during 2015 include:  
  • Printed and distributed 100,000 earthquake-related informational materials such as brochures, magnets, postcards and earthquake guides to Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee.
  • Coordinated with the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission (MSSC) to conduct a Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) of potential seismic hazards pilot project, using the FEMA P-154 methodology. The RVS project used volunteer teams to perform exterior and interior assessments to school facilities located in the southeastern end of state, considered the highest (earthquake) hazard area of the state. Results of the screenings are provided confidentially and free of charge to participating districts, and help them prioritize opportunities for structural or non-structural earthquake mitigation. Approximately 40 engineers, architects, and code officials attended a special FEMA P-154 training course held in Shrewsbury in February. We also developed a mobile display to help promote and encourage schools to participate in future RVS projects.
  • Participated in and led a training session during a Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and Missouri Air National Guard post-earthquake safety evaluation training and exercise event. It was held at Jefferson Barracks on October 16-17 and was a linked event to the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, with eight states and 200 people participating.
  • Worked with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) during the first and second quarter, to highlight earthquake preparedness in two earthquake planning and outreach events. MEMA hosted 100 participants at a special earthquake preparedness conference in Oxford in March and later at the " 2015 Partners in Preparedness Summit" in May in Biloxi, Mississippi.
  • Co-hosted the 2015 National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting where CUSEC, state earthquake program managers, representatives from FEMA and other earthquake preparedness related organizations convened in Charleston, South Carolina. This meeting covered topics including:
    • Current scientific research, response planning and best practices in social media use
    • Earthquake program updates from States, FEMA, USGS, Regional Earthquake Consortia (CREW, CUSEC, NESEC and WSSPC), and FEMA NEHRP Partners (ATC, EERI, FLASH, & SCEC).
    • Information exchange to further develop state earthquake programs
  • Worked with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) to provide training and hot water heater bracing systems to homeowners who live within the highest (earthquake) hazard area of the state. According to ADEM Earthquake Program Manager Katie Belknap, more than 200 systems were distributed free of charge. "The requirement for residents to receive the free system was for them to watch a tutorial or talk with people who have taken the FEMA E-74: Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage training course," she said. A similar program will be offered on February 20, 2016 in Cabot, Arkansas. For more information contact Katie Belknap at (501) 683-6700.
  • Led three workshops on July 7-8, where nearly 45 individuals representing each CUSEC Member State participated in a planning workshop hosted by CUSEC in Memphis, Tennessee. Sessions in this workshop focused on three main areas: (1) the Association of CUSEC State Geologists/State Emergency Management integration (2) Geographical Information Systems (GIS)/Information Technology (IT) and (3) Building Inspector Resource Deployment (BIRD). Each working group presented updates on current projects, trained on new tools and technology, discussed new research and geological products; and talked about challenges and advancements since CAPSTONE-14.
  • Launched initial efforts to deploy "quake catchers"--low cost earthquake sensors--to several schools, museums, and science centers in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  The devices allow organizations to contribute to the understanding of earthquakes using the "citizen science" model of data collection.  The deployment coincided with the Ride the Fault Line tour, where several hundred cyclists toured states in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in an organized bicycle tour.  The tour began and ended in New Madrid, Missouri; and CUSEC, along with several Member State organizations participated in presentations and exhibits, and interacted with cyclists at various points during the tour.
Also, in September 2015, the CUSEC Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Information Technology (IT) Working Group was presented with a FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award in Washington, D.C.  The award was received by the Working Group chair, Doug Eades (Kentucky) at a ceremony at the American Red Cross headquarters and was presented for the group's technological achievements leading up to and during CAPSTONE-14.   
The Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) recently released its biennial report that gives an assessment of the effectiveness of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) as stipulated in the committee's charter and Public Law (PL) 108-360. The report covers the contributions, development and recommendations for the following areas:
  • Future Directions for NEHRP
  • Management, Coordination, and Implementation of NEHRP
  • NEHRP Secretariat
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. Geological Survey
The report also includes appendices explaining the emerging trends and new developments in the science, engineering and emergency management components of earthquake hazards reduction.

Established as a part of the 2004 NEHRP Reauthorization; and according to PL 108-360, ACEHR works:
  • to assess trends and developments in science and engineering of earthquake hazards reduction nationwide
  • to determine the effectiveness of NEHRP in performing its required activities (which includes how they are managed, coordinated and implemented)
  • to recommend revisions to NEHRP if needed
ACEHR membership is comprised of non-federal employees representing research, academic institutions, earthquake-related design professions, and state and local governments. With the publication of this report, ACEHR looks to advise and educate national policymakers about the importance of a renewed commitment to the national earthquake awareness and preparedness effort through NEHRP. The report also serves to help ensure that earthquake hazard reduction remains a federal priority.

The September 2015 ACEHR report can be viewed and downloaded at  
Please mark your 2016 calendars with the following conferences whose themes will be focused on earthquakes, natural hazards, emergency management, and public safety.

January 27-29, 2016: FLASH Annual Conference; Orlando, Florida The Conference will bring together the nation's foremost voices in the disaster safety and resilience movement to share best practices, inspire, collaborate, and create meaningful action. Attendees will include leaders, professionals and practitioners from a cross-section of organizations dedicated to disaster safety.  For registration and information visit

March 1-3, 2016: Resiliency Conference (RES/CON); New Orleans, Louisiana
RES/CON (formerly known as the International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE)) brings together experts from business, academia, government and international organizations to exchange ideas for the development of best practice and policy information to help ensure successful resiliency and disaster management in communities and businesses around the world. For more information about RES/CON New Orleans visit:

April 3-7, 2016: National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Mid-Year Forum; Alexandria, Virginia
The NEMA mid-year forum takes place shortly after the president has released the budget request for the next fiscal year and delivered the State of the Union address.  NEMA provides an analysis of the budget, and members use the forum to learn more about the budget proposals, including impact on emergency management.  During the meeting, the NEMA Legislative Committee identifies legislative priorities for the year in accordance with the budget request and proposed legislation. For details, visit

May 4-6, 2016:  National Earthquake Conference (NEC); Long Beach, California
The NEC is a quadrennial event providing a unique opportunity for academia, building code experts, design/build professionals, FEMA Directorates, first responders, geologists, local emergency managers, insurance and reinsurance professionals, local and tribal governments, private sector interests, public information officers, state government leaders, social science practitioners, U.S. State and Territorial Earthquake Managers, USGS leadership, and volunteers to share the latest advances in earthquake science, best practices for outreach and education, building science and code advancement, and policy initiatives that improve resiliency.  For more information on the NEC, visit

June 25-28, 2016: ESRI 2016 National Security and Public Safety Summit; San Diego, California The Esri National Security and Public Safety Summit (formerly Esri Homeland Security Summit) is the world's largest geographic information system (GIS) event dedicated to homeland security, national security, and defense. It is attended each year by professionals from around the world, including executives, analysts, intelligence personnel, and frontline staff, to discover how Esri software, services, and partner agencies improve mission workflows.  For more information see

July 10-13, 2016: Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop; Broomfield, Colorado  
Since 1975, the Natural Hazards Center has hosted the Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop for 400 federal, state, and local emergency officials, representatives of nonprofit and humanitarian organizations, hazards researchers, disaster consultants, and others dedicated to alleviating the impacts of disasters. For more information, visit
This publication is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant Number EMW-2015-CA-00202.

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.