2011-2012 Activities

In its 2008 report, West Tennessee Seismic Safety Commission Strategic Planning Goals for Earthquake Safety in Tennessee, the commission’s Strategic Planning Committee identified 18 strategies under five broad objectives for addressing earthquake safety in West Tennessee.   FY 2011-12, a primary focus was placed on, increasing public awareness through public service announcements, production of a historical documentary, presentations and exhibits, and building partnerships with emergency managers in west Tennessee.  The following document states the major goals of our strategic plan followed by 2011-12 activities undertaken by the WTSSC to pursue these goals.

Major Accomplishments FY 2011-12

  1. Production of the New Madrid Bicentennial Public Service Announcements.  Distributed to every major television network in Tennessee (March 15- April 20).

ShakeOut PSA

  1. Production of historical documentary New Madrid:  The Earthquakes of 1811-1812” in partnership with TEMA and the U.S. Geological Survey  (
  2. Sponsorship and leadership role in organizing the National Earthquake Conference in Memphis (April 10-13, 2012) (

 WTSSC Objective 1.  Increase earthquake awareness and preparedness

•A website for public access to multidisciplinary earthquake information was developed at  The website is currently being rebuilt to  better document WTSSC efforts and streamline its business operations.

•Since July 2011, the commission organized official public meetings in Memphis (3), Jackson, Tiptonville, New Madrid (MO), and Trenton TN. A quorum of commissioners was present at each of these public business meetings.

Over the same time period, the following presentations to increase general earthquake awareness were given by commission staff:

  • August 17, Earthquake Workshop at the Baddour Center, Senatobia, MS
  • August 24, Memphis Better Business Bureau PST., Memphis TN
  • September 22, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Memphis TN
  • September 30, TN Chapter of the American Planning Association, Nashville TN
  • October 3, Memphis VA Hospital Staff Training Day, Memphis TN
  • October 11, Whitestation Middle School (4 ppts), Memphis TN
  • October 12, Colonial Park Neighborhood Assn, Memphis TN
  • October 25, Simpson Strong Tie EQ Conference, Keynote, Stockton CA
  • December 8, EQ Town Meeting (WTSSC), Trenton TN
  • January 19, Arkansas EQ Awareness Conference, Jonesboro AR
  • February 7, Central US Shakeout, Orleans Elementary, Memphis TN
  • February16, Collierville Earthquake Town Meeting, Collierville TN

•February 23, Memphis Engineer’s Week Presentation, CBU Memphis

•Several presentations and activities related to the National Earthquake Conference in Memphis, April 10- 13

WTSSC Objective 2.  Support earthquake emergency planning, response and recovery

The WTSSC formally contributed to several disaster planning efforts in TN, including:

•September 21, Earthquake Planning Conference, Memphis TN (see attached letter of partnership)

•October 4, Memphis Light Gas and Water/Trans Canada EQ overview, Memphis TN

•October 19, ASCE National Meeting, Infrastructure Vulnerability, Memphis TN

•November 10, MO-TN Seismic Safety Coordination Meeting, New Madrid MO

•March 8, FEMA National Disaster Recovery Framework (Keynote), Memphis TN

•March 9, Memphis, NMB and VOAD Planning Meeting, Memphis TN

•March 16, Earthquake Forum for Policy Makers in West Tennessee, Lambuth Campus of The University of Memphis, Jackson TN

WTSSC Objective 3.  Facilitate seismic infrastructure assessments for West Tennessee

WTSSC members continued participation in the Shelby County Office of Preparedness’ Facilities Assessment Team to identify potential shelter facilities and assess their resistance to earthquake forces.

WTSSC Objective 4.  Propose long-term risk reduction strategies to mitigate life and property losses.

 •As a result of several meetings with EMAT, TEMA, and TEMA West, the WTSSC is actively supporting increased professional development resources for Tennessee’s local emergency management directors.

• The Commission has partnered with Memphis Light Gas and Water to provide video documentation of critical utility infrastructure that has been retrofitted to withstand earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone.  The “Structurally Sound” video series is now viewable on YouTube at  A major goal of the project is to demonstrate the multi hazard resistance that is achieved by preparing for earthquakes and to promote the use of State Predisaster Hazard Mitigation Grants administered by the State of TN.  MLGW has received over $8million in PDMG grants since 2004.

WTSSC Objective 5. Enhance the scientific understanding of earthquakes and their consequences in West Tennessee.

•The WTSSC sponsored the National Seismic Hazards Mapping meeting in Memphis (February 22-23, 2012).  Products from this meeting are incorporated into national building code standards.

•The WTSSC-produced documentary, “New Madrid:  The Earthquakes of 1811-1812” provides information on new earthquake research in TN as well as a comprehensive view of the historical quakes that occurred here 200 years ago.

•The Commission organized and developed a tour (April 13, 2012) as the final event of the National Earthquake Conference in Memphis (, which was attended by some of the nations top seismic engineers.  The goal of the project was to demonstrate the numerous retrofit and new construction projects that have followed stringent seismic standards in Memphis TN.


West Tennessee Seismic Safety Commission  (WTSSC)

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)

Memphis Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (MSCEMA)

Center for Earthquake Research and Information  (CERI)

Emergency Management Association of Tennessee (EMAT)

West TN Earthquake Awareness Week 2010 (WTEQ AWARE 2010)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Mid South Association of Contingency Planners (MSACP)