Mar 8, 2020

'Be Earthquake Aware and Prepared, Not Scared', a key takeaw

5 min
SAN DIEGO, March 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The quadrennial

SAN DIEGO, March 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The quadrennial 2020 National Earthquake Conference (#NEC2020), which took place this week in San Diego, concluded today. The conference brought together more than 600 global attendees from across the academic, public, and private sector to examine and share the latest advances in earthquake science, policy initiatives, practice, and engineering.

Conference goals were to improve life safety when earthquakes occur, to help communities learn how to recover faster, and to help prevent or minimize physical earthquake damage through stronger building practices, including research-informed, model building codes and standards.

"This week, hundreds of committed experts came together to learn, collaborate, inspire, and identify ways to meet the challenge of deadly and destructive earthquake risk, said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH) and conference co-organizer. "We shared the latest in physical and social science, emergency management technology and best practices, engineering-informed building code policy, and much more. Thanks to this exchange, new seismic risk solutions are already emerging to help protect people and communities."

The National Earthquake Conference occurs every four years and is attended by academia, building code experts, engineers, citizens, design/build professionals, earth scientists, engineers, federal, state and local government leaders, local, state and federal emergency managers, geology and seismology experts, first responders, insurance professionals, utilities, hospitals/medical professionals, researchers, businesses, risk communication experts, and private sector interests to share the latest advances, research, information, scientific insights, and technologies.

"Earthquake risk reduction and earthquake resilience, the key themes of this year's conference, are complex," said Heidi Tremayne, Executive Director of EERI, conference co-organizer. "And it takes a diverse group of experts from scientists, engineers, policy makers, and emergency managers to create change and learn from each other so we can solve this problem in a wholistic and collaborative way."


The NEC2020 was organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH). Presenting Partners were FEMA, NEHRP, NIST, and USGS; the Presenting Sponsor was the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). 

The NEC2020 offered attendees a robust conference agenda, including 35 sessions, 8 plenary keynote sessions and panels, 27 concurrent breakout sessions, 9 individual events, two awards ceremonies, a diversity networking event, classroom outreach, a training workshop, student events, a breakfast for young members, and more.

NEC2020 Highlights Include: 

  • Release of the updated San Diego Earthquake Scenario (M6.9 earthquake along Rose Canyon fault) a report that examines the impacts of an earthquake intersecting the urban core of San Diego and identifies important steps that could be taken to improve the seismic resilience of the region's buildings and infrastructure.
  • Three special sessions and 27 poster exhibits featuring the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence of July 2019 that shook Southern California, the 2019-2020 Puerto Rico earthquakes, and 47 on other topics
  • The worldwide 17th Annual EERI Seismic Design Competition, where more than 350 competitors from nearly 50 universities tested four-foot-tall model high-rise buildings designed for San Diego on an earthquake simulator. The winning teams were announced on the last day of the conference.
  • Keynote presentation by Dr. Lucy Jones (Founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society)
  • The Quake Cottage, where attendees climbed inside a one-of-a-kind, 8-seat ultimate earthquake simulator to safely experience what it feels like in a major earthquake. Afterward, they learned the latest in safety preparedness in an earthquake learning center.
  • Information regarding the affordability of earthquake insurance from California Earthquake Authority, specifically that the average annual cost for a typical home in San Diego is between $100 and $444. Renters can secure financial protection from CEA for as little as $35 per month.
  • The San Diego Scenario ShakeMap and more on the EERI – San Diego chapter webpage
  • Leading earthquake experts delivered keynote speeches, served as panelists/panel moderators, and ran breakout sessions, including: Dr. Julian J. Bommer (seismic hazard and risk specialist, Imperial College, London); David Bonowitz (structural engineering consultant); Dr. Howard H. Harary (Director of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, conference honorary chair), Leslie Chapman-Henderson (FLASH President and CEO, conference co-organizer, and building code expert); Dr. Laurie Johnson (Urban Planner and EERI President); David Maurstad (FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation and chief executive of the National Flood Insurance Program); Dr. Jorge Meneses (Geotechnical engineering expert, EERI San Diego Chapter President); Glenn Pomeroy (California Earthquake Authority CEO); Janiele Maffei (Chief Mitigation Officer, California Earthquake Authority); and Heidi Tremayne (Executive Director of EERI, conference co-organizer).

The NEC2020 pre-conference activities included the National Earthquake Program Managers Annual Meeting, seven EERI committee meetings, pre-conference workshops, and tours, including to the [email protected] Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table at the University of California, San Diego and the San Diego Central Library walking tour.


Last held in 2016 in Long Beach, CA, the 2016 NEC generated worldwide focus on earthquake policy and science solutions, including the Earthquake Early Warning project and research findings regarding the southern San Andreas fault. Here is a link to the Conference Program.

About EERI

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is the leading non-profit membership organization that connects those dedicated to reducing earthquake risk. Our multidisciplinary members include engineers, geoscientists, social scientists, architects, planners, emergency managers, academics, students, and other like-minded professionals. EERI has been bringing people and disciplines together since 1948. Learn more at 


The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and humanmade disasters. The FLASH partnership includes more than 100 innovative and diverse organizations that share a vision of making America a more disaster-resilient nation including: BASF Corporation, FEMA, Florida Division of Emergency Management, Huber Engineered Woods, International Code Council, Lowe's, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, and USAA. In 2008, FLASH and Disney opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes, in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and access free consumer resources by visiting; calling toll-free (877) 221-SAFE (7233); and following @federalalliance on Twitter,, and the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.

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SOURCE Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

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