2024 New Jersey Earthquake: How The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Protects Lives

On April 5, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck Tewksbury, New Jersey, producing ground shaking felt by an estimated 42 million people. Reported damage included two gas leaks, structural damage to three multifamily wood structures, and foundation damage, condemning a single-family residential building.

This panel will cover the unique characteristics of eastern U.S. seismic activity and cover how the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) works to mitigate seismic risks and promote community resilience.

Acting NEHRP Director with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Dr. Jay Harris will provide an overview of NEHRP activities that support the nation’s earthquake resilience. NEHRP has worked to: (1) develop hazard loss prevention practices and policies, (2) reduce facility and system vulnerabilities, (3) improve earthquake hazard identification and risk assessments, and (4) advance the study of earthquakes and their consequences.

Dr. Nicolas Luco, Supervisory Research Civil Engineer with the U.S. Geological Survey, will cover the earthquake hazard and risk of damage in the eastern and central U.S. and the differences with respect to the west.

Since 2021, FEMA has incorporated recovery-based design provisions within the source document for the nation’s model seismic building code, the NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (NEHRP Provisions). As the NEHRP Provisions Update Committee Vice Chair and Senior Principal at Degenkolb Engineers, Bob Pekelnicky will describe how recovery-based design for earthquakes can be incorporated into model building codes to enhance community resilience.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand how the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program serves emergency managers, building officials, businesses, federal building investments, and the American public.
  • Learn about the eastern U.S. seismic hazard and risk.
  • Understand the development process of the National Seismic Hazard Model, which informs the nation’s model building codes seismic design parameter maps.
  • Enhance awareness of how the next generation of model building codes can improve community resilience.
01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
23 May 2024


Sara Barrett
Project Manager, National Institute of Building Sciences
Jay Harris
Acting Director, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Roberto Leon
Via Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech
Nicolas Luco
Supervisory Research Civil Engineer, U.S. Geological Survey
Bob Pekelnicky
Senior Principal, Degenkolb Engineers