Hundreds of U.S. and global earthquake experts gather at the quadrennial conference to discuss earthquake science, policy, practice, and engineering
(SAN DIEGO, CA) – The quadrennial 2020 National Earthquake Conference (#NEC2020) this week in San Diego is bringing together nearly 650 global attendees from across the academic, public, and private sectors to examine and share the latest advances in earthquake science, policy initiatives, practice (emergency management, first response, risk communication, etc.), and engineering. Conference goals are 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 unique, interdisciplinary conference will help create a safer, more earthquake-resilient United States by bringing together many diverse experts to learn, solve problems, and collaborate," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO of the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), conference co-organizer. "Four years ago, the 2016 NEC helped advance research and innovative methods to save lives, prevent community disruption, and reduce the cost of damaged buildings and infrastructure. We are excited to see what type of breakthrough successes we achieve this week at #NEC2020."

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.

"NEC2020 provides a unique opportunity for diverse earthquake experts from across the industry gathered together in one venue to work collaboratively on earthquake preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation," said Heidi Tremayne, executive director of EERI, conference co-organizer. "We are especially excited this year to present the San Diego Earthquake Scenario, 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."

The NEC2020 is organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH). Presenting Partners are FEMA, NEHRP, NIST, and USGS; the Presenting Sponsor is the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).
The NEC2020 offers attendees a robust conference agenda, featuring 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, 30 exhibitors, and more.
NEC2020 Highlights Include:
  • Release of updated San Diego Earthquake Scenario (M6.9 earthquake along Rose Canyon fault), plus sessions covering societal, economic, scientific, engineering, and policy implications
  • Three special sessions and 27 poster exhibits featuring the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence of July 2019 that shook Southern California, the Puerto Rico earthquakes, and 47 other topics
  • The worldwide 17th Annual EERI Seismic Design Competition, where more than 350 competitors from nearly 50 universities will test 4 ft tall model high-rise buildings designed for San Diego on an earthquake simulator. The models will be dynamically tested on Wednesday, and the winning teams will be awarded on the last day of the conference.
  • The Quake Cottage, where attendees can climb inside a one-of-a-kind, 8-seat ultimate earthquake simulator to safely experience what it feels like in a major earthquake. Afterward, they will learn the latest in safety preparedness in an earthquake learning center.
  • The San Diego Scenario ShakeMap fault map, and more on the EERI – San Diego chapter webpage
  • The EERI Awards Ceremony, which will showcase 12 honorees of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
  • Leading earthquake experts who will deliver keynote speeches, serve as panelists/panel moderators, and run breakout sessions. These include: 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); Dr. Lucy Jones (Founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society); 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 NHERI@UCSD 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 official 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 www.eeri.org.
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 www.flash.org, calling toll-free (877) 221- SAFE (7233), following @federalalliance on Twitter, on Facebook.com/federalalliance, and the FLASH blog Protect Your Home in a FLASH.
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