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NEHRP logo

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program

A research and implementation partnership

 About Us


The four NEHRP agencies work in close coordination to improve the Nation's understanding of earthquake hazards and to mitigate their effects. The missions of the four agencies are complementary, and the agencies work together to improve our understanding, characterization, and assessment of hazards and vulnerabilities; improve model building codes and land use practices; reduce risks through post-earthquake investigations and education; improve design and construction techniques; improve the capacity of government at all levels and the private sector to reduce and manage earthquake risk; and accelerate the application of research results. All four agencies are responsible for coordinating program activities with similar activities in other countries.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    Under NEHRP, FEMA is responsible for translating research results into design guidance products in addition to supporting: model building codes and national consensus standards; program implementation and outreach; multi-state Consortia and partnerships; State earthquake programs; disaster events (Subject Matter Expertise (SME), technical assistance, earthquake information clearinghouses and post-event studies); and standards for critical lifelines infrastructure.  FEMA collaborates with governmental partners as well as the nation’s design and construction communities using a couple of different approaches and delivery systems in accordance with three main Strategic Goals in FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.  FEMA assists with Building a Culture of Preparednessby awarding earthquake mitigation grants directly to States and Multi-state Consortia and partners via Cooperative Agreements; providing earthquake education directly to local communities and the public utilizing FEMA’s National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP); funding programs like “QuakeSmart” that address the special needs of the community, and “ShakeOut,” the annual nationwide drill that promotes earthquake preparedness; and developing, publishing, and socializing earthquake safety guidance for specific audiences (i.e. FEMA P-1000 Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety).  FEMA is helping to Ready the Nation for Catastrophic Disasters by staying involved in, and influencing the development of model building codes and national consensus standards; developing Performance-Based Seismic Design (PBSD); investigating performance of structures in earthquakes and developing mitigation recommendations and recovery advisories to improve future performance (i.e. FEMA P-1024 South Napa Earthquake Building Performance Study).  The Complexity of FEMA is reduced by overhauling their State Assistance program messaging and engagement (i.e. creating web-based material that clearly and simply describes their grant policy and processes), publishing their grant funding and application review criteria and decision-making process, and promoting changes to the NEHRP, Earthquake Consortia and State Support (ECSS) grant program to increase State participation.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    Designated as the lead NEHRP agency and has the primary responsibility for NEHRP planning and coordination. NIST conducts applied earthquake engineering research to provide the technical basis for building codes, standards, and practices, and is responsible for working with FEMA and others to implement improved earthquake-resistant design guidance for building codes and standards for new and existing buildings, structures, and lifelines. PL 108–360 assigns NIST significant new research and development (R&D) responsibilities to close the research-to-implementation gap and accelerate the use of new earthquake risk mitigation technologies based on the earth sciences and engineering knowledge developed through NEHRP efforts. These new responsibilities address a major technology transfer gap identified in the NEHRP Strategic Plan 2001-2005 (PDF 217KB)—developed in partnership with the stakeholder community. This gap is the limited adaptation of basic research knowledge gained through NSF-sponsored research into practical application. At the request of NIST, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) developed an R&D roadmap in 2003 to address the research-to-implementation gap (visit Summary Overview of the R&D Roadmap for more information). NIST is also responsible for supporting the development of performance-based design tools for building codes, standards, and construction practices.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    Supports fundamental research at the frontiers of science and engineering to advance the nation's health, welfare, and safety. NSF supports research in seismology, fault physics, and rock and mineral physics; structural and geotechnical earthquake engineering; and social, behavioral, and economic sciences pertinent to preparation for, mitigation of, responses to, and recovery from earthquakes and related events such as tsunamis and landslides. NSF also supports research to improve the safety and performance of geomaterials, buildings, structures, and infrastructure systems using the earthquake engineering experimental facilities and cyberinfrastructure of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) (DesignSafe-CI). NSF supports the Seismological Facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience and EarthScope (SAGE) and Geodesy Advancing Geoscience and EarthScope (GAGE) Facility, which provide modern geophysical instrumentation and services to serve national goals in Earth science basic research and education as well as mission goals of NASA, NOAA, and USGS for global real-time earthquake, volcano, and tsunami observations, early warning, and hazard mitigation. SAGE includes the Global Seismographic Network (GSN), which is operated in a partnership between NSF, USGS, and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS). NSF cooperates with USGS on the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), to provide accurate, thorough, and timely information about earthquake ground motions and related effects. NSF also supports post-earthquake reconnaissance, and collection of perishable research data following a catastrophic event. These research activities also support the NSF priority of broadening participation in science and engineering. NSF emphasizes programs aimed at tapping the potential of underrepresented groups, and ensuring that the United States maintains a world-class science and engineering workforce.

  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
    Provides the Nation with earthquake monitoring and notification, delivers regional and national seismic hazard assessments, conducts targeted geoscience research, and coordinates post-earthquake investigations. The USGS Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) includes regional and national seismic networks and the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), which provides rapid reporting of global earthquake information. NSF and USGS jointly support the GSN, which provides high-quality seismic data to support earthquake and tsunami disaster response, hazards assessments, national security (through nuclear test treaty monitoring), and fundamental research into earthquake processes and the structure of the Earth. USGS develops and maintains national seismic hazard maps that form the basis for seismic provisions in building codes and performance-based structural design. The USGS program receives oversight and guidance from the external Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee (SESAC), which was established in the 2000 reauthorization of NEHRP.

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