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New Study Maps Out Steps to Strengthen U.S. Resilience to Earthquakes

A new National Research Council (NRC) report presents a 20-year road map that outlines steps for increasing U.S. resilience to earthquakes, including a major earthquake that could strike heavily populated areas.

Prepared by a NRC-convened committee of experts, the report, National Earthquake Resilience—Research, Implementation, and Outreach, describes 18 categories of focused activities necessary for accomplishing the strategic plan adopted by the federal government's National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). Established by Congress in 1977 with the aim of reducing the impacts of future earthquakes, NEHRP is led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey. NIST funded the study.

The committee defined an earthquake-resilient nation as "one in which its communities, through mitigation and predisaster preparation, develop the adaptive capacity to maintain important community functions and recover quickly when major disasters occur."

Most of the report was mostly written prior to the March 11, 2011, earthquake in Japan, but the committee noted that the Japanese disaster is a reminder of the devastation that can result from earthquakes, even in a country acknowledged as a leader in implementing earthquake-resilience measures.

To read the NRC press release, go to: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13092

To access the full report, go to: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13092

Released March 30, 2011, Updated January 8, 2018