Thursday, April 27, 2017

AZGS @ National Earthquake Program Managers Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City - 25-27 Apr. 2017


Each year, earthquake experts from ~ 30 U.S. States meet for three days to commiserate – and brainstorm - on the challenges of mitigating the impacts from earthquakes on people and property.  FEMA (Fed. Emergency Management Agency) hosts the meeting as a part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). Most years, AZGS participates.

The key objective each year is for the National Earthquake Program Managers (NEPM) to share earthquake information, exchange ideas, and to critique and support new or innovative ideas.
This year there’s a sea change in FEMA’s approach to state assistance, with a return to direct state funding to participating states for earthquake mitigation and outreach. For Arizona, that involves ~ $30,000 in federal funds matched dollar for dollar by the AZGS.  

In our two ½ days together, we engaged in the following:

  • ·         A nationwide overview of seismicity from Maine west to Missouri (and the New Madrid Fault zone), California, Cascadia, Alaska and finally, Hawaii;
  • ·       The nature and origin of induced earthquakes in Oklahoma;
  •          From the City Manager of Cushing, OK, the impact of a magnitude 5+ event that damaged dozens of buildings and disrupted the community for months;
  •          Improving the earthquake performance of manufactured homes – apparently, there’s ample room for improving the initial, on-grade set-up and deployment;
  •          From OK’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner on how OK is managing the insurance challenges that accompany moderate magnitude earthquakes – e.q., earthquake insurance covers catastrophic insurance and carries a very high deductible, up to 10-15% of the home value;
  • ·       Changes in community expectations on the rapidity and magnitude of govt. services in the event of a disaster – in brief, expectations are ramping up and outpacing the delivery of emergency services;
  • ·       Jim Wilkinson of CUSEC (Central US Earthquake Center) addressing the advantages (and challenges) of building a five-year strategic plan for mitigating earthquake impacts.
  • ·       Coming soon from FEMA (May or June 2017) - School Safety Guide for natural Hazards  FEMA P-1000;
  • ·       Updates from participating state agents and seismic consortiums (e.g. WSSPC) regarding progress on communicating and mitigating seismic hazards.
  • National Earthquake Program Managers & friends
  • ·       Earthquake outreach program to owners of manufactured homes. Yuma, AZ, with a large ‘winter visitor’ population that shelter in mobile homes was showcased.

This is a grab-bag sampling of the presentations and information shared at this year’s NEPM. A key function of the meeting is networking with other state representatives, FEMA, and FEMA partners, e.g., FLASH and OPP.  

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