New Madrid Seismic Zone
Catastrophic Planning Initiative

James M. Wilkinson, Jr.
Executive Director
Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC)

Derek Estes
Acting Chief, Catastrophic Disaster Planning Branch
Federal Emergency Management Agency

March 25, 2009

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Related Websites:
CUSEC Web site
CUSEC New Madrid Catastrophic Planning Initiative Web page
USGS Fact Sheet, Earthquake Hazard in the Heart of the Homeland
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
12/4/07 Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing,
The New Madrid Seismic Zone: Whose Fault Is It Anyway?

Up Arrow to Top of Page RATINGS
29 Ratings Submitted: 28 attended, 0 read, 1 viewed
7 (24%) Academia 0 (0%)
13 (45%) Business 5 (17%)
5 (17%) Government 18 (62%)
4 (14%) Volunteers 5 (17%)
0 (0%) Other 1 (4%)

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"Quite informative!"

"Audio was slightly broken. It could have been a local problem."

"Very well organized and presented. Planning for this eventual event is vitally important to the recovery of the area."
Col James M. Rushing
Civil Air Patrol

"My agency is County Public Health. This has been enlightening information, which I will apply to public health emergency response planning efforts."

"Great information - thank you. I look forward to further details as things progress in this area. I would like to see a session in the future about emergency communications and how that may be handled (phones, radio, etc.)."

"Good session for informational and background use given the geographic centrism of the NMSZ."
Randall Ricketts
VA New England

"The information was very useful and filled in some gaps in information about what has been happening since the local and state workshops concluded. It whets the appetite for involvement in the next level of planning and the exercise."
Elaine Clyburn
West Tennessee Seismic Safety Commission

"Was a fabulous presentation!! This was my first netmeeting and I can't tell you how great it was. I am responsible for communications in the Nashville Area for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and I have a lot of work to do now with the information I recieved! Thanks."
Richard Long
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

"I hoped to hear more nuts and bolts about the concept of operations during the event; perhaps a briefing on the interim contingency plan? Possibly also discussion of challenges associated with a "regional approach" and innovations to overcoming them. This was very introductory."
Lise Northey
Puget Sound Regional Catastrophic Planning Program

"Coincidently, a disaster scenario involving the NMSZ, hazmat and weather hazards will be the basis of the "applications" panel at the EAS Summit on March 30."
Herb White

"From a public health aspect this was good general information. Will help us in our initial planning efforts."
Al Wright
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"I used to receive CUSEC info but was discontinued. I received this meeting notice from one of our volunteers. I will re-register for the mailings."
Ken Hines
US Coast Guard

"In our area we have always talked about a lot of the federal response going to Memphis and Louisville due to their dense population, so it was interesting to hear one of the speakers stress that the majority of the population effected lies between St. Louis in Memphis in rural areas. Good to know! Learned a little bit more about the national exercise, timelines for planning, etc. I had been to a Regional Workshop, so if I had not been, I would have learned much more, for the first time, from this forum. Thank you. This forum is very beneficial and you always have very relevant and interesting topics!"
Janet Buche
Self employed contractor with the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security District 4

"Our city is located in the far reaches of the potentially affected area. If we were not affected, we may be asked to provide assistance to an area that had been affected. It is unique that this area has not had a significant earthquake since 1895 and that nothing was planned until the last decade or so 'when the big one hits'. Not only Memphis and St Louis would be affected, it could reach to the edge of the Great Lakes and to the Potomac River basin. In these areas there are major pockets of human population that would be impacted over a period of time. There are too many infrastructure items that would be affected as well. I hope that most people just don't bury their head in the sand and realize something should have been done before we are faced with a situation that could destroy this area of the USA for decades."
Vance Duncan
City of Erie, Bureau of Fire

"Great information presented on this subject. Useful. Great effort to build capacity in that region for this hazard. Please find time in the schedule as they proceed in their planning processes to report out their progress. Thank You."
Mariano Gonzalez
AZ Div. of E. M.

"With Arkansas being part of the New Madrid Seismic zone, I found the information helpful and useful. "
Norajean Miles Harrell
ADH EMS and Trauma Systems

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James M. Wilkinson, Jr. is the fifth Executive Director of CUSEC. Mr. Wilkinson has worked in the field of emergency management since 1991, beginning with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, where he served as a Population Protection Planner, and, later, as the state's Earthquake Program Manager. In 1994, he accepted a position with the Central United States Earthquake Consortium as Mitigation Specialist. In this position, he worked closely with CUSEC Member and Associate States, to help develop a strong program that addresses the regional impact of earthquakes in the central US, while emphasizing an all hazard approach.

In December 1999, Mr. Wilkinson was appointed to his current position as Executive Director. In this position he is responsible for accomplishing the CUSEC programs and activities that are defined by the four primary CUSEC goals: raising the level of public awareness of the earthquake hazard in the central U.S.; promoting the adoption of mitigation programs, tools, and techniques to reduce the vulnerability of the Central U.S. to earthquakes and other hazards; fostering multi-state planning for response and recovery to a damaging earthquake; and promoting the application of research and lessons learned to improve the level of preparedness.

Mr. Wilkinson serves on the Missouri Insurance Earthquake Task Force, the Arkansas Governors Seismic Advisory Council and on the Board of Directors for the Center for Community Earthquake Preparedness at the University Mississippi. Mr. Wilkinson is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning.


Established in 1983 with funding support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, CUSEC's primary mission is, "... the reduction of deaths, injuries, property damage and economic losses resulting from earthquakes in the Central United States." CUSEC is a partnership of the federal government and the eight states most affected by earthquakes in the central United States. Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

CUSEC serves as a "coordinating hub" for the region, performing the critical role of coordinating the multi-state efforts of the central region. Its coordinating role is largely facilitative and not as the primary implementer of emergency management functions which is the responsibility of each individual state.

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Derek Estes is currently the Acting Chief of FEMA's Catastrophic Disaster Planning Branch, which is responsible for the New Madrid, South Florida, California and Hawaii Catastrophic Disaster Planning Initiatives, as well as the National Response Framework's Catastrophic Incident Annex and its Supplement.

At FEMA, he has also served as a policy analyst to the Assistant Administrator for Disaster Operations. Mr. Estes has also worked at the Federal level as a policy analyst and program manager for the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness (now part of FEMA).

Prior to Federal service, he worked as an emergency manager for New York City, Washington, DC and the State of North Carolina. Mr. Estes earned his Master of Public Administration degree at North Carolina State University.