The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) has just published a new strategic plan to guide the activities of the four federal agencies that participate in the program for the next five years. NEHRP's goal is to reduce earthquake losses through better understanding of earthquake generation and propagation processes, improved design and construction techniques for new and existing buildings and lifelines, monitoring and early-warning systems, and assisting states and localities in developing coordinated emergency preparedness plans and public education.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the lead agency in NEHRP. Other participants include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). These agencies partner with state and local governments, private enterprise, professional organizations and academia.
The NEHRP plan was originally published for comment last spring (see "Comments Requested on Draft Earthquake Hazards Plan," Tech Beat, April 14, 2008). The final plan lists nine strategic priorities important to understanding earthquake phenomena, developing cost-effective measures to reduce impacts on individuals, society and construction, and improving rapid community recovery from earthquakes. Some of these include fully implementing the Advanced National Seismic System for impact notification, deployment of response, hazard assessments and research; developing cost-effective techniques and tools to design new earthquake-resistant buildings and improve the survivability of existing buildings; creating realistic earthquake scenarios to help communities and businesses better understand and plan for earthquake consequences; and designing earthquake-resilient infrastructure to end vulnerabilities and possible cascading failures in critical, interconnected transportation, ports, energy, water, sewage, communications and industrial production systems. The plan can be found at www.nehrp.gov/pdf/strategic_plan_2008.pdf.