CURRENT EARTHQUAKE PROGRAM
In 1977 Congress passed the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act establishing the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) as a long term, nationwide, earthquake risk reduction program. The Act was amended and reauthorized in 1990. Member agencies in the program are the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The purpose of NEHRP has been to reduce the risks to life and property in the United States from earthquakes through the establishment and maintenance of an effective national earthquake risk reduction program. The Act's aims include improved understanding, characterization, and prediction of hazards and vulnerabilities; improved model building codes and land use practices; reduced risks of earthquakes through post-earthquake investigations and education; 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 under the 1977 Act were the ones largely engaged in research and development.
The NEHRP agencies, working both individually and in cooperative alliances with each other, other federal and state agencies, private companies, universities, and regional, voluntary, and professional organizations, have made significant gains in our understanding and characterization of earthquake hazards, our preparation for earthquakes, and how to mitigate the damage they cause (Appendix A1). However, much remains to be learned about the most effective and economical techniques for enhancing the seismic safety of the built environment. Moreover, implementation of what we have learned significantly lags the state our knowledge.
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