U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites..

Building Science - Earthquake Publications

It is important that communities at risk of earthquakes and tsunamis take proper safety precautions to reduce the risk of life and property when one of these hazards strike. FEMA Building Science provides publications and guidance so that communities can become stronger and better able to withstand the harsh effects of these seismic events. Incorporating FEMA guidance into the development of new and existing buildings will create more resilient buildings that will keep building occupants safe, as well as result in less damages following one of these events.

Repair of Earthquake-Damaged Masonry Fireplace Chimneys (FEMA P-1024-RA1)

On August 24, 2014, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake occurred in Napa, California. In response to this earthquake, the Special Projects task of the National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) was used to fund an investigation. At the time, this event had not yet been declared a federal disaster, and disaster funds were therefore not available. Because of limitations to this funding, some issues, such as performance of lifelines or building investigations in additional areas, could not be investigated. Past earthquakes in California have resulted in significant improvements to national and local building codes. For the 2014 South Napa earthquake, work was focused on documenting the observed performance of buildings and nonstructural components in order to lead into future improvements in future building codes, and to do so within six months.

Recovery Advisory 1 (RA1) is Appendix A of the FEMA P-1024 report. RA1 recommends best practices for reconstruction of earthquake‐damaged masonry chimneys in one‐and two‐family dwellings to minimize risk of damage in future earthquakes.

Performance of Buildings and Nonstructural Components in the 2014 South Napa Earthquake (FEMA P-1024)

On August 24, 2014, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake occurred in Napa, California. In response to this earthquake, the Special Projects task of the National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) was used to fund an investigation. At the time, this event had not yet been declared a federal disaster, and disaster funds were therefore not available. Because of limitations to this funding, some issues, such as performance of lifelines or building investigations in additional areas, could not be investigated. Past earthquakes in California have resulted in significant improvements to national and local building codes. For the 2014 South Napa earthquake, work was focused on documenting the observed performance of buildings and nonstructural components in order to lead into future improvements in future building codes, and to do so within six months.

The goal of the project was to assess and document the performance of a population of buildings impacted by the earthquake and develop a series of recommendations to further improve mitigation.

The FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2013

The FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2013
fema_earthquakes_fema-national-earthquake-hazards-reduction-program-accomplishments-in-fiscal-year-2013
The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), which was first authorized by Congress in 1977, coordinates the earthquake-related activities of the Federal Government. The goal of NEHRP is to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States through basic and directed research and implementation activities in the fields of earthquake science and engineering. Under NEHRP, FEMA is responsible for developing effective earthquake risk reduction tools and promoting their implementation, as well as supporting the development of disaster-resistant building codes and standards. FEMA's NEHRP activities are led by the FEMA Headquarters (HQ), Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, in strong partnership with other FEMA HQ Directorates, and in coordination with the FEMA Regions, the States, the earthquake consortia, and other public and private partners. This report describes selected FEMA NEHRP accomplishments (HQ and Regional), followed by highlights from the States and U.S. territories and organizations which received FEMA support for NEHRP activities. The accomplishments described in this report showcase how FEMA and its partners, working in collaboration, continued to make progress toward earthquake loss-reduction nationwide.

New guidance and tools, continued and expanded support by FEMA Regional and Headquarters staff for ShakeOut drills and the 2013 Building Safety Month, training in earthquake topics offered at the State and local level, and best practices and new and innovative projects undertaken by States and U.S. Territories and organizations.

The FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2014

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), which was first authorized by Congress in 1977, coordinates the earthquake-related activities of the Federal Government. The goal of NEHRP is to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States through basic and directed research and implementation activities in the fields of earthquake science and engineering. Under NEHRP, FEMA is responsible for developing effective earthquake risk reduction tools and promoting their implementation, as well as supporting the development of disaster-resistant building codes and standards. FEMA's NEHRP activities are led by the FEMA Headquarters (HQ), Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Risk Reduction Division, Building Science Branch, in strong partnership with other FEMA HQ Directorates, and in coordination with the FEMA Regions, the States, the earthquake consortia, and other public and private partners. This report describes selected FEMA NEHRP accomplishments (HQ and Regional), followed by highlights from the States and U.S. territories and organizations which received FEMA support for NEHRP activities. The accomplishments described in this report showcase how FEMA and its partners, working in collaboration, continued to make progress toward earthquake loss-reduction nationwide.

Much of the work completed in FY 2014 is helping to reduce earthquake risk, and serving as the foundation for realizing effective long-term outcomes.

The Adventures of Terry the Turtle and Gracie the Wonder Dog, Grades 3–6

This storybook for children in grades 3-6 relates the adventures of the safety-conscious mayor of Shakeyville (Terry the Turtle) and a group of safety volunteers who meet with students at the local elementary school to teach them about earthquake safety. The students discover the importance of earthquake safety and preparedness. Included are suggestions for creating a disaster kit, illustrations of what to do if an earthquake happens (Drop, Cover, and Hold), and a list of resources.

Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook. Second Edition

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook. Second Edition

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: Supporting Documentation. Third Edition (FEMA P-155)

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

The third edition of the Supporting Documentation (FEMA P-155) describes the technical background and process used to update the Handbook and the revisions considered and conclusions reached. Extensive detail is also provided in FEMA P-155 on the third edition scoring and associated risk.

Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook. Third Edition (FEMA P-154)

The Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) handbook can be used by trained personnel to identify, inventory, and screen buildings that are potentially seismically vulnerable. The RVS procedure comprises a method and several forms that help users to quickly identify, inventory, and score buildings according to their risk of collapse if hit by major earthquakes. The RVS handbook describes how to identify the structural type and key weakness characteristics, how to complete the screening forms, and how to manage a successful RVS program.

The third edition of the Handbook (FEMA P-154) includes extensive updates, including improvements in the methodology, the screening forms, and the underlying scoring; the addition of a more detailed professional screening option (level 2 screening); new quick reference guides with extensive figures illustrating important building characteristics; an electronic scoring option; and guidance on how to administer an effective screening program. The FEMA P-154 CD contains PowerPoint slides with instructor notes; the RVS Student Manual (FEMA 154SM); data collection forms; and PDF and text file versions of FEMA P-154 (both FEMA P-154 and FEMA P-155 include the FEMA P-154 CD).

Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt Poster (FEMA 528)

This poster provides visuals and descriptions so that homeowners can identify and fix at-risk areas of their homes to reduce future earthquake damage and disruption.

Recommendations for reducing earthquake hazards in your home.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On Poster (FEMA 529)

This poster (17-inches by 22-inches) is intended for classroom use and updates a previous edition. The poster depicts a teacher and students in a classroom responding appropriately to the first sign of an earthquake (Drop, Cover, and Hold On).

2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Training and Instructional Materials Part 1 of 2

The NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures, 2009 Edition (FEMA P-750) is an important resource that translates new knowledge, research results, and design methods for the national standards and building codes. In collaboration with the Building Seismic Safety Council, FEMA has published two supporting documents: 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Design Examples (FEMA P-751CD) and the new 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Training and Instructional Materials (FEMA P-752CD). FEMA P-752CD presents a series of PowerPoint slides and instructional materials (student handouts and notes pages) that are aligned with the design examples in FEMA P-751CD. In addition to materials updated from its previous edition (FEMA P-451B CD), FEMA P-752CD includes new units on Ground Motions, Composite/Steel Construction, Pre-Cast Design, and Seismically Isolated Structures, as well as an introduction to the latest versions of NONLIN and EQ Tools, two free software programs for the computation of dynamic response analysis of simple linear and nonlinear structures and design earthquake ground motions.

2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Training and Instructional Materials Part 2 of 2

The NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures, 2009 Edition (FEMA P-750) is an important resource that translates new knowledge, research results, and design methods for the national standards and building codes. In collaboration with the Building Seismic Safety Council, FEMA has published two supporting documents: 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Design Examples (FEMA P-751CD) and the new 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions: Training and Instructional Materials (FEMA P-752CD). FEMA P-752CD presents a series of PowerPoint slides and instructional materials (student handouts and notes pages) that are aligned with the design examples in FEMA P-751CD. In addition to materials updated from its previous edition (FEMA P-451B CD), FEMA P-752CD includes new units on Ground Motions, Composite/Steel Construction, Pre-Cast Design, and Seismically Isolated Structures, as well as an introduction to the latest versions of NONLIN and EQ Tools, two free software programs for the computation of dynamic response analysis of simple linear and nonlinear structures and design earthquake ground motions.

Other Business Tools

The following document provides a list of tools to help businesses plan, prepare, and mitigate the effects of earthquakes. Each section includes a short description of the organization that created it as well as a link that will take you to the respective page of each resource. Some of the materials listed are not specifically for businesses, but could still be found useful by the private sector in that they promote earthquake preparedness and mitigation in homes and therefore increase a community’s disaster resilience and ability to recover quickly after a disaster. The quicker the recovery period within a community, the faster businesses will be fully functional and operating. This list is not intended to be all inclusive, rather a collection of the tools created by FEMA and its partners.

Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage: A Practical Guide. Third Edition

This well-illustrated publication describes the sources of nonstructural earthquake damage and provides information on effective methods of reducing potential risks from such damage. The guide assists in identifying potential hazards and provides specific guidance on upgrades that readers can do themselves. The guide contains diagrams and photographs, a glossary, references, and an annotated bibliography for those who wish additional information. A nonstructural inventory form, a checklist of nonstructural earthquake hazards, and an explanation of nonstructural risk ratings are included as appendices. The target audiences for the guide are building owners, facility managers, maintenance personnel, homeowners, store or office managers, business proprietors, organizational department heads, and others concerned with building safety and the continuation of business. This publication is currently being updated and a new edition will be available online as an electronic publication in 2010.

Seismic Considerations for Communities at Risk (FEMA 83 1995)

This publication is a companion volume to the 1994 edition of NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings. The publication provides individuals and community decision-makers with information to assess seismic risk, make informed decisions about seismic safety in their communities, and determine what can be done to mitigate risk. The publication includes information on the scope of earthquake risk in the U.S., the effects of earthquakes on buildings, how design can reduce earthquake effects, and the importance of seismic codes and the NEHRP Provisions. Also included are factors to consider when deciding whether and how to take action to reduce earthquake risk and suggestions for stimulating community action.

The compressed file contains the PDF document and a text file for use with screen readers.

Creating a Seismic Safety Advisory Board: A Guide to Earthquake Risk Management (FEMA 266 1995)

This guide assists states, state coalitions, and local governments in creating, developing, and nurturing seismic safety advisory boards. The guide provides information on board operations, including staffing and funding a board, and guidelines for strategic planning and developing a model seismic risk management program to measure progress. The appendices include model executive orders, enabling legislation, staff duty descriptions, workshop designs, and workshop rosters; examples of an interstate compact, articles of incorporation, and corporate bylaws; a list of existing seismic safety advisory boards; and a lexicon of terms.

The compressed file contains the PDF file and a text file for use with screen readers.

FEMA 156, Typical Costs for Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings. Volume 1: Summary. Second Edition.

This publication provides a methodology to estimate the costs of seismic rehabilitation projects at various locations in the United States. This edition is based on a sample of almost 2,100 projects, with data collected using a standard protocol, strict quality control verification, and a reliability rating. A sophisticated statistical methodology applied to this database yields cost estimates of increasing quality and reliability as more and more detailed information on the building inventory is used in the estimation process. Guidance is also provided to calculate the range of uncertainty associated with this process.

The compressed file contains the PDF file and a text file for use with screen readers.

Earthquake Resistant Construction of Gas and Liquid Fuel Pipeline Systems Serving or Regulated by the Federal Government (FEMA 233 1992)

This report summarizes the vulnerability of gas and liquid fuel pipeline systems to damage in past earthquakes. The report lists the available standards and technologies that can protect such facilities against earthquake damage. An overview of measures taken by various federal agencies to protect pipeline systems is presented. The appendix presents summaries of statements made by representatives of federal agencies and other organizations contacted during the study.

The compressed file contains two files, the PDF file and a text file for use with screen readers.

Seismic Retrofit Incentive Programs: A Handbook for Local Governments (FEMA 254 1994)

This handbook assists local government officials in developing seismic retrofit incentive programs. The handbook summarizes several case studies that describe the steps that seven California cities have taken to promote and implement retrofitting in their communities. Included are sections on using zoning as an incentive to retrofit; local government finance options; a description of the Unreinforced Masonry Buildings (URM) law and of recent legislation; and liability implications and considerations in the event of an earthquake.

The compressed file contains the PDF file and a text file for use with screen readers.

Last updated February 22, 2021