New white paper explores how earthquake early warning technology is changing how we talk about earthquake safety

Nusura and partners publish novel research on how earthquake early warning technology is influencing what the public should do when an earthquake is imminent.

Nusura, Inc., partnered with Dr. Michele Wood in concert with the State of Washington Emergency Management Division, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup to develop a white paper that explores the research around what people should do when they receive a warning about an imminent earthquake.

Emerging technologies are constantly redefining the way we understand, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic disasters. The US Geological Survey and university partners, along with state emergency management agencies, are currently developing and testing ShakeAlert, a new earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. Partners hope that ShakeAlert will give enough warning that people are able to take action before heavy shaking begins.

ShakeAlert is challenging the established guidance around earthquake safety. As a result, scientists and emergency managers are beginning to revisit previous research and their messages about earthquake safety and protective actions.

“This work provides a starting point for reexamining prior guidance,” said Lead Author, Dr. Michele Wood. She continued, “Our community of researchers and practitioners will play a crucial role in conducting additional studies, adapting existing guidance, and updating training materials. This report is the first step in providing emergency managers and other practitioners with the tools needed to communicate with the public in a consistent way about how to protect oneself during an earthquake when they receive an advance warning.”

The white paper, State-of-the-Art Knowledge of Protective Actions Appropriate for Earthquake Early Warning, summarizes existing research on earthquake protective actions, considers more than a dozen specific actions in the context of earthquake early warning, and provides recommendations for future research and public education.

“In a disaster, timely, accurate, and accessible information is as important as water, food, and shelter,” said Mark Amann, Nusura CEO. “We are delighted to be working with a team of such knowledgeable and committed partners to help advance earthquake safety guidance in light of emerging technologies.”

Follow us on Twitter @Nusura for more information about our work related to earthquake early warning.

About Michele Wood, PhD, California State University, Fullerton

Michele M. Wood, PhD, M.S., holds a doctorate in Community Health Sciences from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a minor degree in Sociology, and master’s degree in Community Psychology. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in research methods, statistics, and program design and evaluation. Her research interests include disaster preparedness, risk communication, HIV/AIDS among high-risk populations, and program evaluation. Dr. Wood recently served as co-principal investigator on a research project funded by the Department of Homeland Security, “Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for Mobile Devices,” through the START Center (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) at the University of Maryland; she was the quantitative lead for the study. Also in connection with the START Center, Dr. Wood played a lead role in the design and implementation of the National Survey of Disaster Experiences and Preparedness and the California Earthquake Study of Household Preparedness. As Chair of the Earthquake Country Alliance Committee for Research and Evaluation, Dr. Wood helped design and implement the ongoing evaluation for the “Great California Shakeout” earthquake drill. Dr. Wood is currently serving as a Subject Matter Expert for the USGS ShakeAlert Joint Committee for Communication, Education, and Outreach, and is working with the California Office of Emergency Services to develop and test messages for an earthquake early warning system (ShakeAlert) currently being developed for the US West coast.

About the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup

CREW formed in the late 1990s to address the regional nature of earthquake hazards in the Pacific Northwest and the interdependency of public agencies and private businesses in planning for earthquakes. We are a nonprofit public-private coalition of business people, emergency managers, scientists, government officials and civic leaders who work together to reduce the effects of earthquakes and related hazards, such as tsunami, throughout the Cascadia region, which stretches from northern California to British Columbia. We strive to bring together researchers, practitioners and community members in a unique forum that works across city, state and national boundaries to help the entire Cascadia Region plan for earthquakes and related hazards and become more resilient to these inevitable events.

About Nusura

At Nusura, we’re building a better, safer, more resilient future with our customers. Founded in 2008, Nusura is led by professionals who have served in leadership positions in the military, local, state, and federal agencies, and the private sector during some of the most challenging incidents in recent history. Our team has supported hundreds of emergency responses including the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  We leverage this experience with a heavy dose of creative and technological innovation to craft novel solutions that help our customers solve complex problems.