CURRENT EARTHQUAKE PROGRAM
In 1977 Congress passed the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act establishingthe National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) as a long term,nationwide, earthquake risk reduction program. The Act was amended and reauthorizedin 1990. Member agencies in the program are the United States GeologicalSurvey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal EmergencyManagement Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST). The purpose of NEHRP has been to reduce the risks to life and propertyin the United States from earthquakes through the establishment and maintenanceof an effective national earthquake risk reduction program. The Act's aimsinclude improved understanding, characterization, and prediction of hazardsand vulnerabilities; improved model building codes and land use practices;reduced risks of earthquakes through post-earthquake investigations andeducation; development and improvement of design and construction techniques;improved mitigation capacity; and accelerated application of research results.While the aims of NEHRP were broad, the agencies that sought funds underthe 1977 Act were the ones largely engaged in research and development.
The NEHRP agencies, working both individually and in cooperative allianceswith each other, other federal and state agencies, private companies, universities,and regional, voluntary, and professional organizations, have made significantgains in our understanding and characterization of earthquake hazards, ourpreparation for earthquakes, and how to mitigate the damage they cause (AppendixA1). However, much remains to be learned about the most effective and economicaltechniques for enhancing the seismic safety of the built environment. Moreover,implementation of what we have learned significantly lags the state ourknowledge.