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SAFRR - Science Application for Risk Reduction

News Archive


  • April 24, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones Presents for 10th Anniversary of CREATE

    Dr. Lucy Jones presented as a keynote speaker for the 10th anniversary of CREATE (Center for Research in the Economic Affects of Terrorism Events) at the University of Southern California on April 24th. The day-long event commemorated the inception of CREATE and highlighted contributions, advancements, latest risks, and future directions in homeland security. More information can be found at CREATE 10 Year Anniversary Event

  • April 14, 2014
    HayWired meeting with Google in San Francisco

    USGS SAFRR Project Manager, Dale Cox, Anne Wein, USGS Western Geographic Science Center, and Keith Porter, University of Colorado visited Google in San Francisco to discuss the SAFRR HayWired Project. The HayWired project will examine infrastructural impacts in the San Francisco Bay Area from a M7.0 on the HayWard Fault. The HayWired project will focus in detail on the impacts to the Internet economy and Silicon Valley. Contact: Dale A. Cox,, (916) 997-4209.

  • April 3, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones Participates in 21st Century Infrastructure and Innovation for a Resilent Economy Forum

    Dr. Lucy Jones joined a forum hosted by the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange and attended by President Clinton and Mayor Garcetti on Thursday, April 3rd at the Los Angeles City Hall. The 21st Centuray Infrastructure and Innovation for a Resilient Economy forum brings together mayors, governors, private investors, pension fund managers, and experts to advance strategies for financing economic development and to promote job growth, climate mitigation, and resiliency. The interactive plenary session and working session are intended to identify key opportunities within such topics as facilitating pension investment in public infrastructure, incentivizing climate-smart and green infrastructure, and scalable investment vehicles.

  • March 27, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones Speaks on SAFRR Tsunami Scenario at LA County Operational Area Tsunami Seminar

    On Thursday, March 27th at 9:00 am, Dr. Lucy Jones presented as lead speaker on the SAFRR tsunami scenario with several State officials on the California tsunami program at the Los Angeles County Operational Area Tsunami Seminar, held in Marina del Rey.

  • March 25, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones to Speak at an Informational Hearing at CA State Senate, Committee on Insurance

    On Wednesday, March 26th, Dr. Lucy Jones spoke at an informational hearing at the California State Senate, Committee on Insurance. Dr. Jones was asked to speak about business recovery after earthquakes and the role of insurance.

  • March 24, 2014
    Dr Lucy Jones Speaks at Aquarium of Pacific on Tsunami Awareness

    As part of Tsunami Preparedness Week, Dr. Lucy Jones presented as the keynote speaker for a public event about tsunamis, held in the evening on March 24th at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

  • March 23-29, 2014
    PacifEX 2014 tsunami exercises

    PacifEX is an annual tsunami warning exercise coordinated by the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP)'s Warning Coordination Subcommittee. PacifEX 2014 is based on the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario. NOAA Tsunami Warning System Exercises Exercise PACIFEX 14 Participant Handbook

    States, counties and communities can choose to participate in PacifEX. In 2014, PacifEX-related exercises are being run during Tsunami Preparedness Week (March 23-29) in the states of California and Washington. In Washington, there will be a table top exercise, with the Governor's Executive Staff and Cabinet Officials, featuring the scenario. This will be the first time Washington has had such high level participation for their annual exercise.

    In California, Pacifex-based exercises are being run in Marin County, San Mateo County, San Francisco and possibly also Pacifica. San Francisco is doing a table top exercise on March 5 and then three days of functional exercises March 26-28; they're spending a day each on 1. Alert and warning, 2. Response and policy, and 3. Recovery.

  • March 21, 2014
    SAFRR Participates in Meeting for Ongoing Haywired Scenario Development with Partners

    SAFRR members Dale Cox and Erin Burkett attended a meeting in Menlo Park, CA on March 21st for the Haywired Project, a scenario in development to help prepare the San Francisco Bay Area for a possible earthquake on the Hayward fault The meeting brought together USGS scientists, engineer Keith Porter who was part of previous scenarios, and representatives from utilities, communication, and transportation including EBMUD, CISCO, and BART. Outcomes included a better understanding of modeling capabilities and limitations in moving forward to build the Haywired scenario on sufficient understanding of infrastructure interdependencies.

  • March 20, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones addresses the City of Los Angeles on ability to fulfill full build-out potential

    On Thursday, March 20th, 2014, Dr. Lucy Jones met with 50 representatives of the Urban Land Institute to discuss the LA project. More info at:

  • March 6, 2014
    Lucy Jones Invited To Speak to Inland Empire

    Dr. Lucy Jones was invited to be the keynote speaker at the League of California Cities Inland Empire Division meeting on Thursday, March 6, 2014 in San Bernardino, California. The League of California Cities is the state association that represents California cities, and the Inland Empire Division serves as the local chapter for 15 cities in San Bernardino County. The event is typically attended by mayors, council members, state and county legislators and representatives, city managers, and public safety other municipal staff with attendance ranging from 70-100 attendees.

  • walk2014February-March, 2014
    Tsunami Walk: Event Planning, Partnerships, and Tsunami Week

    SAFRR scientist Sue Perry developed a "Tsunami Walk Template" to help groups and organizations that want to stage a public safety drill in 2014, particularly during Tsunami Preparedness Week (March 23-29). Many will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Alaskan "Good Friday" earthquake and tsunami. SAFRR also worked with a graphic designer to create a logo and poster for Tsunami Walks in 2014, based on a campaign prototype developed by students at Art Center College of Design ( The template, logo, and poster, are in use by partners and posted on the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program website. NOAA-National Weather Service in Oxnard, California, will add the branding to tote bags being printed for their event. NOAA-Tsunami Education Program, Alaska Region, will adapt the graphics to fit the look of Alaskan beaches.

  • SueNami February 28, 2014
    The First Sue Nami

    SAFRR has been working with students at the Designmatters program at Art Center College of Design to develop a trio of videos, each a 1-minute public service announcement to increase tsunami awareness among 18-34 year olds. Studies show that this age group is difficult to reach by conventional preparedness messaging - but worth the effort, because they are more likely than most other age groups to take action, once reached. SAFRR brought in experts from natural and behavioral sciences, emergency management, education, and public health to brief the students about tsunami issues, and work with the class to ensure accurate scientific content. A rough cut of this class-developed movie was shown to partners and colleagues in summer, 2013. Based on received comments, the end of the PSA was re-done, and the final version is now completed and available on YouTube.

  • February 19, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones to Advise the City of Los Angeles on Earthquake Vulnerabilities

    SAFRR has just entered a technical assistance agreement with the City of Los Angeles to create recommendations for approaches that could reduce future losses from earthquakes in the City of Los Angeles in four areas. These areas were identified in the ShakeOut Scenario (Jones et al., 2008) as areas of particular vulnerability with high social consequences for Los Angeles and are: 1) pre-1975 non-ductile reinforced concrete buildings; 2) pre-1997 soft-first-story buildings; 3) the water system infrastructure including its impact on firefighting capability; and 4) communications infrastructure.

    In each area, the project will define the scope of the problem, engage stakeholders of Los Angeles to consider approaches to reducing the problem and develop policies, engage experts as necessary to address technical constraints to the possible approaches, and finally create recommendations for the Mayor of Los Angeles on what can be done to reduce the impacts of these vulnerabilities. To accomplish these goals, Dr. Lucy Jones will be spending three-quarters of her time in the next year on this project.

  • February 14, 2014
    SAFRR Partnership Efforts Continue for Earthquake Early Warning (EEW)

    We continue to work in partnership with the Earthquake Program and Earthquake Science Center to support the development of Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) for the western United States. Lucy Jones together with Doug Given, Earthquake Early Warning coordinator, have served on a California working group to advise the state legislature which has completed its work. Next steps include a series of working groups to complete planning for the California system. The result of this working group so far is a charter to create a process for developing the implementation plan for an EEW system. SAFRR has also funded University of Kentucky's school of risk communication to provide focus group testing of possible early warning messages.

  • February 13, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones Presents Seminar for Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

    On Thursday, February 13th, Dr. Lucy Jones presented a seminar "Where Does the Fault Lie?" to members of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Jones was invited to address questions arising regarding earthquakes and seismic safety surrounding concerns of risks for the Hollywood area.

  • ColbyFebruary 7, 2014
    Protecting Glendora From Debris Flows

    SAFRR scientist Sue Perry represented the USGS among some two dozen officials from local and federal agencies including city of Glendora, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, US Forest Service, and National Weather Service. The group discussed public safety plans for the city of Glendora, where the recent Colby fire has increased debris flow hazard for the next 3-5 years. Using USGS debris flow hazard assessments as a foundation for planning, the city of Glendora spearheaded a plan that includes a four-color alert system, uniform messaging, public meetings, and extensive citizen outreach before during and after debris flow alerts.

  • January 29, 2014
    Dr. Lucy Jones Joins Resilience Round Table

    Dr. Lucy Jones has agreed to serve as the USGS representative to the Resilience Roundtable of the National Research Council whose goal is to address challenges in working toward a more resilient America. Dr. Jones joined a first meeting with the roundtable on January 29th. An outcome was the formation of five working groups, amongst which Lucy is part of the Communications group.

  • January 27-30, 2014
    SAFRR Joins Headquarters for NHMA Retreat

    SAFRR team members Sue Perry, Lucy Jones, Erin Burkett, Dale Cox, Kristin Ludwig, and Sandra Dedeaux joined a NHMA retreat together with the headquarters USGS Natural Hazards group in Reston, VA on January 27th to 30th. The retreat was especially beneficial for the SAFRR group to strenghten communication with headquarters, for newer members to be introduced and have a chance to meet fellow colleagues in person, to share updates on various efforts, and take part in working group goals aimed and improving plans, processes, and communications.

  • January 16-17, 2014
    SAFRR Coordinates and Participates in Northridge Earthquake 20th Anniversary Events

    The SAFRR team helped coordinate plans for the 20th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, January 17th, 2014. Discussions and proposed ideas from earlier coordination meetings developed into planned events and new resources, including a website providing Northridge Earthquake resources such as a calendar of events, lessons-learned, facts, modeled Northridge-sized earthquakes on other faults, and interviews of experts and people who experienced ground-shaking in the Northridge quake. On January 15th at 7 pm, Dr. Lucy Jones gave a public lecture in Northridge in reminder of our need to increase resiliency given vulnerabilities of our modern infrastructures that are untested by large earthquakes. SAFRR team members and others from the USGS joined in a two-day symposium (Jan. 16-17) coordinated by Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) members. The symposium brought together policy makers, government officials, building officials, engineers, earth scientists, emergency managers, building owners, neighborhood and community leaders, and financial services industry professionals to share impacts of, accomplishments since, and steps forward from the 1994 Northridge earthquake.


  • December, 2013
    2013 AGU Fall Meeting Presentations by SAFRR Staff

    * Lucy Jones - Public lecture "Imagine an America without Los Angeles: Natural Hazards and the Complexity of Urban America" - Sunday 12/8 12:00-1:00pm in Moscone South- Room 102.
    * Anne M. Wein et al. - NH41B-1718. "SAFRR Tsunami Scenario: Economic Impacts and Resilience"
    * Erin R. Burkett - NH43B-1746. "Cascading Disaster Assessment for the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario"
    * Stephanie Ross et al. - NH54A-07. "The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario: Improving Resilience for California from a Plausible M9 Earthquake near the Alaska Peninsula"
    * Geoffrey S. Plumlee et al. - NH54A-08. "Environmental and Environmental-Health Implications of the USGS SAFRR California Tsunami Scenario"

    On Sunday, December 8th, from 12:00-1:00 pm, Dr. Lucy Jones gave the public lecture at the American Geophysical Union's 2013 Annual Fall Meeting, "Imagine an America without Los Angeles: Natural Hazards and the Complexity of Urban America." In her presentation she shared vulnerabilities of our modern society to natural disasters, with an emphasis on the importance of recognizing the intertwined nature of system components. Various interdependencies themselves increase vulnerability through the potential for failures to cascade into further triggered consequences. For instance, dependence of many systems on the availability of working internet is just one example in which failure can lead to disruption in many other services such as transportation, power and communications. For more information on the public lecture go to: AGU 2013 Fall Public Lecture.

  • December 3, 2013
    SAFRR Team Retreat

    SAFRR team members, including Lucy Jones, Sue Perry, Erin Burkett, Kristin Ludwig, Dale Cox, and Sandra Dedeaux, met on December 3rd and 4th for a group retreat to welcome Dale and Kristin to the team and organize plans and goals. Outcomes included better understandings of our roles and tasks and increased awareness of each others projects, expertise available, and preferred directions.

  • November 18, 2013
    Tsunami Walkouts Planned

    March, 2014 brings the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Alaskan "Good Friday" earthquake and tsunami, which caused destruction in many parts of the Pacific basin. To commemorate this disaster and increase tsunami awareness, on Nov 18, 2013, SAFRR assembled tsunami awareness professionals from the USGS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California Office of Emergency Services, California Geological Survey, and the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, and Ventura to discuss the staging of public events around southern California during the week surrounding March 27, 2014. This preliminary discussion launches months of planning and collaboration with grassroots and other organizations, including steps to encourage proposed public WalkOut events in which participants would walk a route that begins in a tsunami danger zone and leads to a tsunami safe zone.

  • TsunamiScenarioSeptember 4, 2013
    USGS Releases the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario Report

    SAFRR releases the Tsunami Scenario report describing two years of work to study the potential implications of a tsunami caused by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake offshore of the Alaskan Peninsula. A multi-disciplinary team including the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California Geological Survey (CGS), and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) looked at what such an event could mean to the coastal residents, visitors, infrastructure, economy, and environment in California. The report is published jointly as a report of the USGS and CGS, available through USGS publications on September 4th.

    Upon the release, the California Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program is convening a series of workshops with the USGS to explain the results of the study to stakeholders in the coastal communities of California. The workshops are hosted by the Cabrillo Aquarium (Sept. 4), Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (Sept. 5), San Diego County Office of Emergency Management (Sept. 6), Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management (Sept. 9), and the Port of San Francisco (Sept. 10).

    The intended users of the Tsunami Scenario are those who need to make mitigation decisions before tsunamis and will need to make rapid decisions during and after tsunamis. The intent is that new information provided by the Tsunami Scenario will help these important players understand the context and consequences of their decisions.

  • August 23, 2013
    SAFRR Contributes to Understanding of Evacuation Behaviors

    SAFRR has partnered with social and behavioral scientists at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Earth Institute, Columbia University (url: to create a virtual simulation system that will improve public understanding of debris flows and enable researchers to better understand how people make decisions about evacuation when a debris flow or wildfire threatens. As part of this project, CRED mails surveys to southern Californians with recent evacuation experience. To determine where to send the surveys, CRED relies on USGS volunteer James Carter, who carefully monitors local radio, web, and television for weather, fire, and evacuation updates. Carter provides the local eyes and ears needed to target participants accurately and updates his reports daily during active fires. SAFRR disaster scientist Sue Perry says "a number of SAFRR partners in emergency management, in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties, have indicated great interest in this study and Jim Carter's careful, dedicated effort has been a great asset as we proceed." Contact: Sue Perry,

    For more information contact Sue Perry.

  • ARkStormAugust 14, 2013
    Lucy Jones presents on Earthquakes and ARkStorm at LAX for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)

    Lucy Jones spoke at LAX on August 14th, 2013, presenting on earthquake and flooding risks in California. The presentation was part of a "Prepare" series organized for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) staff to help toward LAX preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Dr. Jones covered topics including vulnerabilities to the probable next large San Andreas earthquake, as demonstrated by the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, along with risks associated with even less frequent but potentially more disastrous winter storm flooding events as outlined with the ARkStorm Scenario ( Pamphlets were provided for the ShakeOut Scenario and earthquake preparedness ("Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country") to encourage awareness of available resources.

    For more information contact

  • DesignStormJuly 8-9, 2013
    SAFRR, Art Center, and others collaborate in an Earthquake Risk Communication Design Storm

    On July 8-9th, 2013, the USGS met at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design for an Earthquake Risk Communication Design Storm, in a project coordinated by the SAFRR team that brought together seismologists, emergency managers, risk communication researchers, and design professionals to develop a framework for earthquake probability messages for emergency managers and the general public. The seismologists provided guidelines for earthquake information that can be produced, the emergency managers explained what they need to do their jobs and help inform people what they need to be safe, the risk communication researchers helped advise on theories of how people perceive risk and what approaches lead to action or are known to not work, and the Art Center designers helped develop possible interfaces to present effective messages incorporating guidance from all of the above. The outcome included several sets of promising possible earthquake early warning messages and approaches, including potential sounds, phone and television application interfaces, and creative awareness training ideas in the form of mascots or PSAs. Following the Design Storm, the candidate messages will be tested with focus groups by the researchers at the Division of Risk Communication at the University of Kentucky.

  • SueNamiMay 2013
    Sue Nami public service announcement now available online

    Sue Nami, a tsunami awareness PSA resulting from collaboration between the USGS SAFRR team and the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, is now available online. For more information, see the Sue Nami Project. Vimeo | Behind the Scenes

  • EEW_ShakeAlertApril 19, 2013
    $5 Million in UASI Funding for EEW Secured by USGS Partnerships

    USGS scientists Lucy Jones and Doug Given participated in a press conference at the LA City Emergency Operations Center with Mayor Antonio Villaragosa to announce $5 million in funding from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) to ANSS partner institution Caltech for Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system development, for which USGS efforts were integral in securing (see LA Times article).

  • May 6-7, 2013
    Lucy Jones speaks at IAPH 28th World Ports Conference about Tsunami Risk and Mitigation Tools

    Dr. Lucy Jones speaks at the International Association of Ports and Harbors 28th World Ports Conference, May 6th and 7th at the JW Marriott at LA live in Los Angeles, for an audience of over 500 registrants from around the globe. The presentation includes an emphasis on awareness of port vulnerabilities to tsunamis, examples of scientific tools useful for preparedness and mitigation efforts such as tsunami simulation results from research work with collaborator Dr. Patrick Lynett, potential benefits to reaching out to scientists for information useful for hazard mitigation, and provision of USGS contact information for facilitating access to related resources and means of communication with scientists.

  • July 23, 2013
    Dr. Erin Burkett presents "Summer of Safety" Seminar for Capital Group

    On July 23rd, SAFRR staff scientist Dr. Erin Burkett gave an invited presentation "Understanding Your Earthquake Risk in Southern California" as part of a "Summer of Safety" brown bag lunch series for employees and safety team members of Capital Group, a company in downtown LA serving investors and financial institutions. For an audience of about 100 attendees in a lecture hall on the 55th floor of the downtown Los Angeles Bank of America high-rise, Dr. Burkett gave an overview of earthquake science along with risk specific to Southern California, shared current updates on projects underway including development efforts for Earthquake Early Warning, provided links to SAFRR and USGS resources for scientific and preparedness information, and addressed a variety of questions following the talk. For questions or more information contact: Erin Burkett,

  • July 1, 2013
    SAFRR and LA Children's Hospital Convene a Meeting on Children and Earthquakes

    SAFRR team members Lucy Jones, John Bwarie, and Erin Burkett co-convened a meeting with LA Children's Hospital representatives at the LA City Emergency Operations Center July 1, 2013 to bring together participants representing various libraries, museums, and children's centers around Los Angeles to discuss "Earthquakes, Children, and the Future of LA". The meeting consisted of short presentations, including "Earthquake Risk in Los Angeles" by Lucy Jones and "Special Considerations for Children in Earthquakes" by Jeffrey Upperman from CHLA, followed by break-out group discussions on current strategies and safety measures as well as gaps and opportunities to be addressed in future meetings and efforts. A major focus of the talks and discussions was on addressing vulnerabilities specific to children, and in particular, how to help ensure that museums, libraries, children's centers or daycares can develop and have emergency plans in place to effectively provide water, food, shelter, safety, instructive guidance, and care for children that might become separated and stranded from their families in the event of an earthquake that severs LA transportation and supply lifelines.

  • June 14, 2013
    SAFRR Partners with Hawaiian Civil Defense to Assist Tsunami Messaging Efforts

    Over the next several months, the State of Hawaii will decide changes to its tsunami messaging and - to ensure that the new messages strengthen existing education - Hawaiian Civil Defense has sought advice outside traditional tsunami messaging circles by requesting assistance from SAFRR to connect with researchers in risk communication and risk perception. Thus Sue Perry assembled a group of partners to serve as advisors to State of Hawaii. The group's expertise comprises socio-linguistics, psychology, anthropology, marketing, design, public health, and health policy, and includes Columbia's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Art Center College of Design, School of Public Health at Hunter College, UC Los Angeles Center for Public Health and Disasters, and the Rand Corporation. The group has participated in phone and email discussions to draft an informal set of best practices and recommendations which Hawaiian Civil Defense has requested that SAFRR co-author as a white paper. The results will also help to inform future outreach within SAFRR. This is a pilot effort in SAFRR to explore new ways to share expertise with partners inside and outside the USGS. For more information contact: Sue Perry,

  • June 6, 2013
    Erin Burkett Presents on Earthquakes and Seismic Instrumentation at CSTE Annual Meeting

    USGS staff scientist Erin Burkett spoke at the annual meeting of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) in Pasadena, California on June 9th. Her presentation was part of the "Disaster Epidemiology: From Fukishima to Super Storm Sandy" workshop and covered an overview of earthquake science and instrumentation, including a demonstration of seismic equipment. The invited purpose was to further educate epidemiologists on earthquakes and related hazards for exposure assessment. The audience consisted of a variety of cancer, infectious, chronic, disease, and environmental epidemiologists who enthusiastically received the presentation and came away with a new awareness of available USGS resources. For more information contact: Erin Burkett,

  • NextBigOneMarch 1, 2013
    "Living in Earthquake Country: Los Angeles and the Big One" - Dr. Lucy Jones presentation at LA Natural History Museum

    Dr. Lucy Jones presented a public lecture at the LA Natural History Museum and hosted questions from attending public members. A podcast of the talk is available. Also see information about her presentation and the LA Natural History Museum First-Fridays program.

  • ErinBurkettFebruary 25, 2013
    Welcoming Dr. Erin Burkett to USGS and the SAFRR Project

    Erin completed a bachelor's degree in Physics at the University of Delaware (2004) and a doctorate in Geology/Geophysics at the University of California, Davis (2010). Erin most recently worked as a Geophysics post-doctoral researcher with Caltech (2010-2012), where her experiences with leading tours of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory and the USGS Media Center exposed her to the work and collaborations with USGS Natural Hazards projects, leading to her interest in and opportunity to join the SAFRR team. Erin was hired in February as a Geophysicist working with the SAFRR team to add a combination of scientific expertise with writing, artistic design, and communication skills to ongoing efforts to engage users and increase the use of USGS science. Erin Burkett's Professional Page

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