EERI’s professional development webinars covers a broad range of topics for the community of earthquake risk reduction professionals. You will hear about the latest impacts and lessons from recent earthquakes, learn about emerging research from Earthquake Spectra, and hear from leading experts on complex technical topics. Recordings from previous webinars can be found in the Digital Library and on EERI's YouTube Channel.

Webinar: Citizen Advocacy — Tools to Advance Seismic Safety Policy

2020 10 Webinar Citizen Toolkit

Wednesday, October 28 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members and non-members (PDH hours included upon request)

Presented by the EERI Younger Members Committee, this webinar will introduce how you may take steps to become a seismic safety policy advocate. While getting started in advocacy may seem daunting, advocating for seismic safety policy and advocacy is an important facet of EERI members' expertise and professional practice. The discussion will cover the recently released Citizen Advocate Toolkit, explaining government structures and guides for interacting with representatives and policymakers.


We will review case studies of past and current seismic safety-related laws, ordinances, and bills, and provide information on how to best communicate science and engineering concepts to non-technical audiences. The webinar will also cover what it’s like to work with and for a public agency on various types of policies, and leave you with actions you can take today in progressing seismic safety in your locale and state.




Jack English is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a dual degree M.S. in Civil Engineering and Master of Public Affairs. He obtained a dual B.S./B.A. degree in Civil Engineering and Political Science from Case Western Reserve University in 2018. He has worked for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the California Assembly. He currently serves on the EERI Public Policy & Advocacy Committee, its California Subcommittee, and as the PPA liaison to the YMC. A native of San Francisco, Jack seeks to improve resilience implementation across levels of government by bridging the gap between policy development and engineering.


Zahraa Saiyed is a disaster risk reduction and public policy consultant with background and training as an architect, building scientist, structural engineer, and educator based in California. Zahraa’s domestic and international work ranges from anticipatory design projects, designing sustainable and resilient built environments, developing practice and personal preparedness guidance, and policy evaluation and development for seismic risk reduction at the federal, state, and local level. She leads EERI’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, is a member of the Western States Seismic Policy Council’s (WSSPC) Building Engineering, Construction and Building Codes Committee, and is a member of the Infrastructure Policy committee with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Zahraa’s legislative advocacy has ranged from seismic safety and preparedness, to equity in the workplace, as well as medical consumer rights for public health and wellness. She is a co-founder and principal of Scyma Consulting LLC located in the Bay Area, and is an adjunct professor of Architecture and Community Design at the University of San Francisco.

Webinar Series: Applying Lessons Learned from COVID-19 to Earthquake Preparedness

2020 10 San Diego Webinar 2

Join us for a special three-part webinar series, “Applying Lessons Learned from COVID-19 to Earthquake Preparedness,” presented by the EERI San Diego Regional Chapter.

Global pandemics and large earthquakes don’t occur often, yet they can produce enormous human and economic losses. Current experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic can be useful for discussing and preparing for these “low frequency/high risk” events. Although our scientific knowledge and technology are better now than they have ever been, COVID-19 has posed tremendous challenges for the world in the past six months despite attempts to prepare for events such as this. This webinar series will explore lessons from the pandemic that can help us prepare for earthquakes.

EERI’s webinar series is made possible with support from FEMA under cooperative agreement EMW-2020-CA-00029-S01. The series is also sponsored by RMA Companies.

First webinar: Using Scenarios for Preparedness: Comparing Pandemics and Earthquakes
Friday, October 16, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET.

Scenarios are useful planning tools to help us prepare for future events, particularly events that have a low frequency of occurrence, but a high risk of losses, such as large earthquakes and global pandemics. Several public health scenarios were developed in recent years to better understand and prepare for a global pandemic, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar discusses the outcomes and conclusions of these scenarios, comparing our current experiences with COVID-19 and existing earthquake scenarios to improve earthquake preparedness in our community.

Second Webinar: Common Challenges Preparing for Low Frequency/High-Risk Events (Earthquakes and Pandemics)
Friday, October 30, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET

Preparing and planning for events that have a low frequency of occurrence, but a high-risk of loss associated with them can have a number of obstacles. These obstacles include changing public perception of risk, communicating information to a non-scientific population, obtaining sustained political and financial support, amongst many others. Panelists will discuss these challenges in the context of our current experiences with COVID-19. The webinar will also discuss how learning from the failures and successes of our experiences with COVID-19 will help counter similar challenges in planning for earthquakes and developing more seismically resilient communities.  

Third Webinar: Next Steps for Earthquake Preparedness in the San Diego Community
Friday, November 13, 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET |

Developing communities that are more earthquake-resilient and better prepared for large disasters takes time, resources, and lots of planning. This webinar will focus on how to prepare in our community, looking at outreach, developing a group of stakeholders, and identifying short-term and long-term goals for San Diego.  This webinar is intended to be more interactive, with discussion amongst stakeholders. The basis for this discussion will be the San Diego Earthquake Scenario released in March, 2020 before the pandemics hit the San Diego region.

Webinar: Preliminary Geological and Structural Reconnaissance Observations from the August 9, 2020 Sparta, NC Earthquake

Sparta NC social media

Wednesday, September 30 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members and non-members (PDH hours included upon request)

On August 9, 2020 at 8:07AM, the largest recorded earthquake to strike North Carolina occurred near Sparta. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake (MMI 6) was preceded in the days before by several small foreshocks felt by local residents and followed to date by ~100 aftershocks. In this webinar, a multidisciplinary team from NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, USGS, and NC Geological Survey will discuss their observations including ground shaking characterization, geological features, and structural damage assessment.

The earthquake caused ground deformation and surface rupture, which is expressed by several fissures and small scarps, disposed with en-echelon patterns roughly striking 100° along a narrow deformation zone that is traceable for 2–3 km. The rupture has a maximum vertical displacement of ~20 cm, with an average vertical displacement of 8–10 cm with a reverse motion and/or folding/flexure. Preliminary InSAR data shows consistency with the focal mechanism, suggesting the existence of a NW-SE structure and relative uplift of the hanging wall and subsidence of the footwall. The surface rupture seems to be associated with pre-existent discontinuities, which can be reactivated under favorable conditions. Questions arise related with the seismogenic source and secondary structures that may have accommodated the deformation closer to the surface.

This event caused damage to more than 600 houses and the distribution of damage and shaking reports (“Did you feel it?”, USGS) suggests a stronger shaking in the hanging wall, as expected in a reverse motion. Structural damage was sufficient to condemn many houses, with substantial damage to some unreinforced masonry (especially chimneys). Based upon calculations of rocking response, peak ground accelerations of at least 0.2g likely occurred, which is compatible with USGS estimates. In addition, non-trivial damage to building contents in the town center was observed.


Dr. Mervyn J. Kowalsky is the Christopher W. Clark Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. He earned his BS, MS and PhD degrees at the University of California, San Diego.His research interests are in the development of seismic design and analysis methods for structural systems, with a special interest in Direct Displacement-Based seismic design. His work includes large scale structural testing and non-linear modelling aimed at understanding the mechanisms that characterize the seismic behavior of structures.

Ariadne L. Palma Parra began her university studies at Universidad de La Salle in Bogota, Colombia and continued to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering at NC State University in 2017 and her Masters of Science in Structural Engineering in Fall 2019. As part of her doctoral studies at NC State, she is currently conducting computational work on response spectra definitions used in seismic design and experimental research on the evaluation of steel bridge structures. Her primary research interests are in performance based seismic engineering and large scale testing of structures.

Dr. Paula M. Figueiredo is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. She earned her BS, MSc and PhD in Geology at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she researched the Neotectonics and Active Tectonics of SW Portugal. Her research focus on active tectonics, paleoseismology, tectonic geomorphology, Quaternary geochronology and surfaces processes. In particular, she applies terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide and optically stimulated luminescence dating to obtain timings and rates of deformation. She has been conducting research at several locations in southern California and Nevada, Baja California, Portugal and other locations, supported by NSF, SCEC and NEHRP. She has published several papers related with active tectonics, paleoseismology in plate boundary and intra-plate settings.

Dr. Arthur J. Merschat is a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct research professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He is a co-project chief of the USGS Piedmont and Blue Ridge Project. Arthur's primary research goal is to create accurate, detailed geologic maps, with a special interest in complexly deformed crystalline rocks. He has spent the past 20 years studying the structure and tectonics of the Appalachians and has worked on geologic mapping projects in the southern Appalachians (Blue Ridge and Inner Piedmont), New England, and Adirondacks. He has published several papers, geologic maps, and field trip guidebooks on Appalachian geology with an emphasis on the geology of the Blue Ridge and Inner Piedmont.

Dr. Lewis A. Owen is Professor and Head of the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. He received his B.Sc. in Geology, from Imperial College, University of London, and Ph.D. from the University of Leicester, U.K. He has held faculty positions at the University of Cincinnati, the Hong Kong Baptist University, Royal Holloway – University of London, and the University of California – Riverside. Dr. Owen’s research focuses on the Quaternary geology and geomorphology of tectonically active mountain belts and their forelands, particularly in the Himalayan-Tibetan orogen and the Cordilleras of North and South America. He has also undertaken research in other tectonically active regions, including the Red Sea margin in Yemen and the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Dr. Kevin G. Stewart is an Associate Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his BS degree from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research is focused on the structural geology and tectonic history of mountain belts including the southern Appalachians, Apennines and Rocky Mountains. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Geological Survey, and several Foundations.

Richard Wooten is the Senior Geologist for Geohazards and Engineering Geology at the North Carolina Geological Survey. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology at the University of Georgia. His work includes landslide investigations and applied geotechnical geology with the USDA-Forest Service on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. His work with the North Carolina Geological Survey includes geologic mapping in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge, and research on landslides, landslide hazard mapping and modeling. He has a special interest in the relationships of ductile and brittle faulting and other bedrock structures with geomorphology, and landslide processes and hazards.

Webinar: Lifeline Infrastructure System Resilience – Exploring What Is It and How We Can Implement

Sep 2020 Lifeline Webinar


Thursday, September 10 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members | $50 for non-members (PDH hours included upon request)

Lifeline infrastructure system resilience — prior to and following disruptions due to natural or technological hazards — is intimately linked to and supports community resilience. Lifelines are interdependent socio-technical systems vital in the day-to-day operations of our communities and their basic services are essential for community recovery after earthquakes and other extreme events. Lifelines include electric power, gas and liquid fuel, water and wastewater, telecommunication, and multi-modal transportation systems.

In this webinar, you will gain an understanding of key concepts needed for lifeline systems to be resilient to earthquakes and other hazards. You’ll also gain insight into the needed future work to fully operationalize lifeline system resilience using functionality, operability, and functional recovery measurements.

Functionality and operability are continuous expressions useful for measuring lifeline system resilience. These expressions are explored along with the basic lifeline services and their recoveries needed to ensure communities can achieve their resilience objectives. The concept of functional recovery is being further developed by FEMA and NIST as part of the 2018 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) reauthorization and is closely related to operability.


Craig A. Davis, Ph.D., PE, GE is a professional consultant on geotechnical, earthquake, and lifeline infrastructure system resilience engineering. In his three-decade long career at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Water System (LADWP), Davis worked as the Departmental Chief Resilience Officer, Resilience Program Manager, Seismic Manager, Geotechnical Engineering Manager, and Trunk Line Design Manager.

There he developed a comprehensive L.A. Water System resilience program and was involved in creating policy for improving infrastructure systems to threats and hazards. He also investigated and evaluated numerous dams and tunnels, managed several multimillion dollar projects, and implemented unique and innovative designs while aiding the development of new technologies and their applications.

He has published more than 140 technical papers and organized international workshops and symposiums on geotechnical engineering and lifeline system resilience. He has served on many national and international professional committees, including the Building Seismic Safety Council, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division, and the International Society of Lifeline and Infrastructure Earthquake Engineering.

Davis has been honored with many awards, including the ASCE 2016 Le Val Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction and the 2020 Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award. He received a B.S. from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an M.S. and Ph.D from the University of Southern California, all in civil engineering.

Chapters: EERISC: Perspectives on Building an Earthquake Resilient Southern California

Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Cost: Free

This webinar focused on the emerging concept of functional recovery as a key element of resilience-based design in Southern California communities. Designing new and improving existing buildings and infrastructure for limited downtime (or a quick functional recovery) is a necessary tool for achieving community-wide earthquake resilience. The webinar began with an abbreviated presentation by David Bonowitz of his 2020 EERI Distinguished Lecture, “Functional Recovery: What it Means to Design for Community Resilience”. Bonowitz was then be joined by local experts Craig Davis, Susan Dowty, Henry Burton, and Christine Goulet, who presented and discussed aspects of functional recovery and resilience in Southern California, including references to the City of LA’s “Resilient Los Angeles” report.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
499 14th Street, Suite 220
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-451-0905
Fax: 510-451-5411
Email: eeri@eeri.org

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