Progress in Implementing Strategies
In its 1997 report A Strategic Plan for Earthquake Safety in Missouri, the Commission outlined 37 strategies under five broad objectives for addressing the Missouri earthquake problem. One strategy under each objective was identified for emphasis during 1997-1998. These are repeated here together with their corresponding objective:
Progress has been made in implementing these strategies. Some actions resulted directly from Commission efforts, while many others are due to efforts by state and local organizations. The following provides a snapshot of progress made in the state during the past year.
1. Progress in Increasing Earthquake Awareness and Education
Awareness and education efforts have broad constituencies as targets: the general public, key professionals and K-12 students. Each group requires the development of different methods so that information reaches them.
During this past year, we have made progress in addressing these different audiences and have learned some valuable lessons.
State officers of the American Legion Auxiliary are now considering sponsoring a statewide earthquake awareness poster contest for school children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The American Legion leaders are realizing the value, importance, and need for such a program and see how their organization may be uniquely able to implement such a program. They are a statewide, in-place network of capable volunteers who have a history of community service.
During Earthquake Awareness Week (EQAW) in February 1998, an "Earthquakes: Mean Business" workshop was held in St. Louis, sponsored by the Commission, SEMA and many local businesses. While the event was open to the public, invitations were sent to decision-makers in regional business. As a result, most attendees were the targeted key professionals. Program critiques by attendees gave one especially interesting result: even though most of the information presented was not new to attendees, literally all were planning to take action in their organization or workplace as a result of the workshop. During the same week, open exhibits and speakers were made available to the public at the St. Louis Science Center.
In the fall of 1998, students in Dr. Michael Kramer's Communications 377 course at the University of Missouri, Columbia, will create a public relations program for the 1999 Missouri Earthquake Awareness Week. Early in the fall semester, the students and their professors will meet with representatives of the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission and the State Emergency Management Agency to learn about the earthquake issue in Missouri. For class assignments, they will then create radio and television public service announcements (PSAs). This will result in broadcast-ready PSAs for the MSSC as well as resume-ready work experience for the students.
Other actions that have occurred in support of this objective:
KETC, Channel 9 and the St. Louis Science Center in St. Louis continue to be valuable partner in helping increase the awareness of earthquake risk in Missouri. KETC's participation was limited in 1998, however, due to moving their studios from the Washington University campus to their new facility in mid-town St. Louis in February 1998. In the future it is hoped that the actions outlined here will be expanded. For example, it is expected that KETC, Channel 9 may broadcast special programs during the next Earthquake Awareness Week. It is hoped that corporate sponsors will be developed to add consumer-level visibility to the issue.
Earthquake information efforts are especially important in southeast Missouri because Missouri's greatest earthquake hazard is in that area. A concern is that numerous changes in leadership at the Center for Earthquake Studies (CES) at Southeast Missouri State University has affected its outreach mission. A stabler and more dependable rapport with the regional community needs to exist in the future. Earthquake awareness in southeast Missouri requires a strong CES within the area.
The ongoing educational activities are amazing in their number and scope. By participating in this year's Earthquake Awareness Week, the Commission sees the need for better coordination and increased participation by the region's universities in the program. Planning has started for EQAW - 1999!
2. Progress in Mitigation
Chapter 319 (319.200, 319.203, 319.205, 319.207) of The Revised Statutes of Missouri requires that any city, town, village or county in the high risk area of the state adopt an ordinance requiring compliance with seismic design and construction standards of national building codes. Not all of these political entities have the resources to review designs and oversee construction to assure that this is being done. Although progress was limited in this regard during the last year, some progress was made. The following organizations were contacted and encouraged to design and construct these new facilities to be earthquake resistant:
Members of the Commission have been working with MoDOT to promote seismic design for bridges. A conference is planned for St. Louis in the spring of 1999 for the DOT's in the seven states that comprise Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC).
In the coming year, a plan needs to be developed to increase the adoption of seismic design and construction procedures, especially in the smaller cities and rural areas in Southeast Missouri. Also a preliminary plan to encourage voluntary retrofit, particularly for critical facilities, should be developed.
3. Progress in Improving Emergency Response
The Commission supports the SEMA approach of training the trainer for implementing the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). It is an effective method of organizing volunteers within a community, neighborhood, or business who have had basic training in fire safety, light rescue, disaster medical operations, hazard inspection and other services. These individuals will act independently to aid their neighbors or coworkers in the event of a disaster.
Because of the importance of this program, a database should be developed containing information on teams to guide recertification training, to permit team members to join other CERT's should they change residences, and to provide SEMA with points of contact during disasters.
CERTs are of value for all disasters. Such training must continue to be developed by SEMA. There may be a need for an additional trainer at SEMA to train and track the CERT training.
During the past year, the following activities also occurred:
4. Progress in Improving Recovery
SEMA is working with CUSEC to arrange for a Train-the-Trainer course in Rapid Visual Screening of the Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards (ATC-21) which has been developed by the Applied Technology Council. Volunteers who have received this training could be used for the initial assessment of the identified habitable buildings. Funding from FEMA is being sought for this training. SEMA continues to promote and train volunteer engineers and architects in the Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings (ATC-20, SAVE Coalition). The need for increased volunteer participation is warranted.
The ability of individual and small businesses to recover from a disaster is being enhanced by an initiative of FEMA for a government/private business partnership program that SEMA will assist. The Disaster Resistant Community Program currently envisioned has a business recovery component within the structure.
5. Progress in Hazards Assessment
The concept of Geoscience Response Teams as a tool for rapid post-earthquake evaluation of ground motion effects was further developed through meetings with state and federal geoscientists. The Missouri Division of Geology and Land Survey (DGLS), Department of Natural Resources, provides a framework for initiating such teams. The DGLS should consider the following objectives for these teams:
A broad and flexible plan is envisioned to get proper personnel into the field with equipment, recognizing the important goal of assisting Emergency Response efforts by providing field data to SEMA. Coordination with federal agencies will permit realistic training for such teams.
In September, 1997, the National Science Foundation established three national earthquake engineering centers. One of these, the Mid-America Earthquake Center, is headquartered at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (URL http://mae.ce.uiuc.edu/ ). Two Missouri universities, Saint Louis University and Washington University, are core member institutions.
The MAE Center is directed at reducing losses in future earthquakes that may strike the central and eastern United States. Coordinated research programs on essential facilities and transportation networks provide the needed data to better evaluate possible earthquake hazards and to develop improved strategies for seismic retrofit of constructed facilities. Center research is directed at developing effective and economical mitigation measures considering the unique physical, technical, social and economic features of the earthquake problem in Mid-America. Effective Center programs in education, outreach and implementation provide the necessary links to extend research results to the public and professional communities. The MAE Center used the Commission's Stratetic Plan for Seismic Safety in Mi ssouri as a resource in designing its programs in mitigation.
The MAE Center has already held information gathering conferences to help them understand the state's needs for their expertise. The funding of the center represents a major increase in federal funding to address the New Madrid earthquake problem.
As a result of interaction with MAE Center researchers, the Commission now appreciates the need for detailed studies of a new issue that affects the state - national seismic hazard maps.
In 1996, the latest generation of seismic hazard maps developed by the U. S. Geological Survey under the National Earthquakes Hazards Reduction Program were released. These maps are being used by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), insurers and others as a basis of decisions that affect the state. For example, EPA guidelines for landfills will require waivers on seismic design requirements in the Bootheel because of expected large motions. This may be mitigated once additional geological features of the Bootheel are incorporated into these maps as proposed by MAE Center researchers.
The Commission will investigate the impact of the 1996 maps on the state, providing its expertise to state agencies.
The following members of the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission were appointed by Governor Carnahan and contributed significantly to the success of the commission during their terms. However, these Commissioners whose appointments expire in 1998 have resigned and have asked not to have their Commission status renewed. The Commission expresses its thanks to these members and wishes all of them success in their future endeavors.
Ernest H. "Bud" Hunt - Daily Dunklin Democrat
Jennifer Marino - City Utilities of Springfield
Robert E. Palmer - Retired Firefighter
Carol J. (Tharp) Niederee - Platte Co. Emergency Management Director
Susan E. Clowe - American Red Cross
John C. Theiss - Structural Engineer, EQE-Theiss (Ret)
Rep. Larry Thomason, Missouri General Assembly
SEMA Deputy Director Paul D. Schleer retired on April 30, 1998. He along with Representative Larry Thomason and Senator Irene Treppler championed the legislation that led to the establishment of this Commission. The Commission would like to extend special thanks to Paul Schleer for his hard work for the Commission, his guidance and the benefit of his experience and wish him the best in retirement.
Finally, the Commission also would like to thank SEMA Director Jerry B. Uhlmann and his staff for their support of the Commission and its objectives this past year. We look forward to working with Director Uhlmann to make Missouri a seismically safer state.