Main Content

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Best Practices

This page is about National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Best Practices.

Learn how the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) works towards making earthquake prone areas safer.

The survival of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the Denali Fault earthquake was the result of careful engineering to meet stringent earthquake design specifications based on geologic studies done in the early 1970s.

Since the creation of the program in 1977, the NEHRP agencies and their partners have been responsible for many achievements built on science that have contributed to making us safer from the effects of earthquakes. Some of the achievements, such as the survival of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline during a recent earthquake, are based in earth science and earthquake engineering research. Other initiatives, such as the mitigation and outreach work in Los Angeles, Seattle, and numerous other communities, make use of structural and non-structural retrofits and public awareness to achieve safer homes, schools, and businesses. All of the accomplishments, however, share common features: science and engineering drive the effort, partnerships are established to achieve the results, and the public benefits from the synergy.

The achievements of the NEHRP over the last 25 years are the direct result of innovative initiatives by all of the NEHRP partner agencies: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the National Science Foundation (NSF); and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Building for the future includes very exciting work that promises to make the United States even safer from the threat of earthquakes. Some of the more exciting projects are described below:

  • FEMA will develop performance-based seismic design guidance, building on research funded by NSF, to allow a building owner or community to determine the level of performance they can expect from a building after an earthquake, and will provide reliable design standards to ensure that level of performance and further reduce losses.
  • The NSF George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) will link 16 distributed earthquake research facilities using high speed Internet connections to allow researchers improved access to the Nation's best laboratory equipment, and to disseminate research results more efficiently.
  • The Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), a USGS initiative, will provide a much larger array of more reliable instruments across the country for the more accurate and thorough measure of earthquake ground motions. This will improve understanding of earthquakes and how they affect the built environment.
  • The National Construction Safety Team Act, recently passed by Congress, will allow the NIST to better capture the lessons learned from large-scale building failures after an earthquake.
  • The Plan to Coordinate NEHRP Post Earthquake Investigations, developed by USGS with input from the other NEHRP agencies, will allow the four agencies to better coordinate their activities immediately after the next major earthquake, improving the Nation's response and recovery. A key part of this response will be the use of a new Internet-based central clearinghouse that includes real-time information immediately after an event.
  • Recent work by several agencies will demonstrate the benefit of earthquake resistant construction as protection against other man-made hazards, such as blast and fire.

GovDelivery icon Best Practices e-mail updates.

Last Updated: 
04/23/2015 - 10:43