Supporting FEMA Strategic Initiatives through Earthquake Program Meetings
By Wendy Phillips, FEMA National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program
Whether it be through a means of technical training or a platform for open discussion and sharing, it is critical that steps be taken to better prepare our nation for future disasters. FEMA Building Science Branch and the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program do so by turning research into practice through the development of multi-hazard mitigation technical guidance and training
In an effort to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes, FEMA recently participated in the 2013 National Earthquake Program Managers Meeting held April 30 through May 2 in Seattle. The goal of the meeting was to bring federal, regional and state earthquake programs, the earthquake consortia, and other earthquake community partners together to educate them about NEHRP, current best practices, and to identify strategic partnerships to improve and promote earthquake safety.
There were 70 representatives from the earthquake community in attendance at the meeting including representatives from at-risk states and territories, the Northeast States Emergency Consortium, the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the Western States Seismic Policy Council, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup, and FEMA.
As part of NEPM, a one-day workshop featuring FEMA’s P-909 Train-the-Trainer: Home and Business Earthquake Safety and Mitigation and the collaborative WSSPC and CREW Communicating with Policy Makers course was offered to attendees. Both were well received and gave attendees an array of tools and resources to take back to their respective earthquake programs.
With a similar goal in mind, the 2013 WSSPC Annual Meeting was held after NEPM in Seattle. The WSSPC program included an Awards of Excellence Luncheon, a policy workshop, three WSSPC technical committee meetings, the WSSPC Board of Directors meeting, and an annual business meeting for members.
Attending and participating in the NEPM and WSSPC meetings helped NEHRP support the FEMA 2011-14 Strategic Plan initiatives. These initiatives are meant to not only strengthen FEMA, but our nation as a whole.
1. Foster a “Whole Community” approach to Emergency Management nationally
2. Build the Nation’s capacity to stabilize and recover from a catastrophic event
3. Build unity of effort and common strategic understanding among the Emergency
4. Enhance FEMA’s ability to learn and innovate as an organization
These initiatives not only showcased how the meetings helped support the Strategic Plan but also how they continue to build relationships and open dialogue amongst programs to carry forward FEMA’s mission to “support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.”