February 5, 2016

CoSSaR to Work with Washington National Guard on Earthquake Response Research

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A high magnitude earthquake is one of the most frightening disaster scenarios facing Washington State, and the entire West Coast. The possibility is unthinkable, yet recent warnings from as high as the White House to articles in The New Yorker and other press reports have raised serious concerns. Limiting the loss of life and economic well-being will require complex coordination across a wide variety of Federal, State, local, tribal, international, public, and private organizations operating in our region.

During the week of June 6, 2016, emergency operations agencies from across Washington and Oregon States conducted Cascadia Rising – a four-day exercise called the largest in U.S. history – that simulated a magnitude 9 earthquake (and subsequent tsunami) and practice emergency response planning and coordination.

The Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR) in the University of Washington’s department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington State National Guard (WANG) to conduct research around the Cascadia Rising event. This research focused on enhancing information exchange and coordination among the varying partners involved in maintaining the safety and resilience of our region. Focusing on how supported agencies request and track resources – including equipment and personnel – CoSSaR worked with the WANG as well as participating agencies to provide both State, as well as Federal sponsors including the Department of Homeland Security and the President’s Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, with an analysis of current resource request and tracking processes, opportunities to improve these processes, and strategies for achieving these improvements.
Participating HCDE faculty, staff and students included Professors Mark Haselkorn and Mark Zachry, Research Scientist Brian Zito, PhD student Chris Little, and MS students Nick Zimmer and Brett Fuller. Nick Zimmer is also a Captain in the WANG while Brett Fuller is also an active duty Army Engineer Officer.

For more information, contact Mark Haselkorn, CoSSaR Director and HCDE Professor, at