Southeast Missouri, which was the location of the largest documented earthquake in the contiguous Unites States, is home to numerous school districts with facilities that have not been designed or retrofitted to withstand strong ground motion. Many of these school districts have not had the opportunity and/or resources to assess their seismic risk. Unfortunately, there is no funding or mandate from the State of Missouri for school districts to evaluate and mitigate the seismic risk in their districts.
The Missouri Seismic Safety Commission (MSSC) is leading a program partially funded, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), to improve earthquake safety and readiness in Missouri schools. The commission works with volunteer structural engineers, architects and construction professionals to conduct FEMA P-154 “Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards: A Handbook” in school buildings. These screenings are completely free of charge, with results provided to participating schools.
Details of the program as implemented were presented at the recent 11NCEE with emphasis on the screening methodology.
This paper will summarize the program, challenges in its implementation, preliminary results of nine plus school district visits and a summary of actionable recommendations for district implementation to raise the bar of seismic safety in Missouri schools.
The main thrust of this paper is to describe some of the positive outcomes of the program including reception, planning and actions by the visited school districts, the surrounding communities and the greater region. Through questionnaires and follow-up visits to selected school districts by members of the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission, the impact of a RVS visit and report beyond alerting the district that their buildings had deficiencies was revealed and will be described in the paper.