Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: December 14, 2009 4:34:06 PM PST
WWU's Resilience Institute to Partner with State on Earthquake-Mitigation Project

Contacts: Scott Miles, WWU assistant professor of Environmental Studies, scott.miles@wwu.edu; Robert Harper, WAEMD public information officer, (253) 512-7005, or e-mail r.harper@emd.wa.gov 


BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s Resilience Institute, part of the Huxley College of the Environment, has entered into an agreement with the Washington State Emergency Management Division (WAEMD) to conduct an analysis of state-level policies around the country related to seismic mitigation – the reduction of damage and loss due to earthquakes.

This analysis will be done in conjunction with an analysis of similar Washington state policies in order to identify policy gaps and priorities. To date, a comprehensive evaluation of current seismic mitigation policies, in Washington as well as nationally, has not been completed.

Scott Miles, director of the Resilience Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, and Brian Gouran, a student in WWU’s Geography graduate program and an environmental planner for the Port of Bellingham, will work with WAEMD on this analysis. The six-month, $25,000 project is being supported by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 2009 Earthquake Hazards Reduction State Assistance Program grant.

The Washington Emergency Management Division’s Earthquake Program is a state level earthquake risk reduction program that, in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state and local agencies, and tribes, promotes earthquake planning, preparedness and hazard mitigation among Washington’s communities. This includes providing education and outreach to residents, visitors, emergency managers, and other state and local officials throughout Washington on matters pertaining to earthquake preparedness.

The Resilience Institute’s mission is to create and disseminate practical knowledge and tools that promote resilient human and ecological communities in the context of natural hazard risk. The Resilience Institute focuses on research and service in Washington. Past and current projects include studying the business impacts of flooding in Lewis County, analyzing resilience of the state’s farmers, evaluating a public awareness campaign by Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, and modeling the relationship of infrastructure restoration to Western Washington economies. For more information about WWU’s Resilience Institute, go to http://www.wwu.edu/resilience.

WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and is a recognized national leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards. The College’s academic programs reflect a broad view of the physical, biological, social and cultural world.  This innovative and interdisciplinary approach makes Huxley unique, and the College continues to earn international recognition for the quality of its programs.

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