February 2017

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Mitigation Resources

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Designing for Disaster

An Interview with Designing for Disaster Curator

Natural disasters can impact any of us, anywhere, at any time. In 2012, the financial toll in the United States alone exceeded $100 billion, and the loss of life and emotional toll is immeasurable. No region of the country is immune—112 events in 32 states were declared natural disasters in the U.S. during 2012.

The National Building Museum’s exhibition, Designing for Disaster, examines how we assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs yielding safer, more disaster-resilient communities.

Use these resources to learn about steps you can take in your own home and community to prepare for disasters, remain safe, and prevent damage. For more resources, articles, and mitigation stories check out the Museum's Designing for Disaster blog MitigationNation.

Scripps Ranch


Prince William Sound


Hurricane Katrina


X Bracing



Wildfire Preparedness
National Fire Protection Association
Find out what the experts know about the best way to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildfire. From the basics of defensible space and sound landscaping techniques to research on how homes ignite (and what you can do about it), there are tips, tools and teachings you can use.

Safer from the Start: A Guide to Firewise Friendly Developments
National Fire Protection Association
Provides developers and residents with tools to integrate Firewise concepts into the design and development, covenants, conditions, restrictions and architectural rules of a community.

Home Ignition Zone and Defensible Space Basics
National Fire Protection Association
Provides actionable guidance for homeowners to help them prepare homes/home landscapes (known as the home ignition zone) to resist wildfire.

Wildland Fire Safety Tips Sheet
National Fire Protection Association
NFPA's wildfire safety tips sheet encourages residents to work together to make their own property—and their neighborhood—much safer from wildfire.


What is an earthquake engineer and how do I become one?
Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
Career guidance information for middle school and high school students explaining what an earthquake engineer is, courses to take in high school, and describing the civil engineering college major.

Earthquake Mythology
Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
Illustrated essay aimed at a general public audience explaining misconceptions about earthquakes.

Nonstructural Earthquake Damage
Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
Illustrated essay explaining the types and causes of nonstructural earthquake damage and picturing both damage and ways to prevent the damage.

Resilient Design
Construction Specialties
This essay provides an overview of tools architects and engineers can use when designing for resiliency.

Designing for Resiliency
Construction Specialties
This booklet goes over the available construction techniques for mitigating the effects of a seismic event.

A Case Study for Earthquake Design
Construction Specialties
This case study examines the seismic mitigation for the the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building.

Earthquake Notification Service
U.S. Geological Survey
Sign up for the USGS Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) to receive free automated notification emails when earthquakes happen in your area.

Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes
U.S. Geological Survey
See current alerts and the status of volcanoes in the United States.

U.S. Geological Survey
If you want to know whether river levels in your area are higher or lower than normal, visit USGS WaterWatch.


U.S. Geological Survey
Use USGS WaterAlert to receive texts or emails when water levels at a specific streamgage exceed certain thresholds.

Water & the Dutch
Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C.
This portal gives summary descriptions of various Dutch flood risk reduction approaches and collaborative projects in and with the U.S.

Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan
Waggonner and Ball Architects
A compilation of resources for the New Orleans Urban Water Plan, developed by a Dutch-American team, applying the Living with Water approach to one of America's most iconic and flood-prone cities. There is an App (found on iTunes) about the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan that summarizes the plan and is readily accessible for common citizens and practitioners alike.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
See just how much damage flooding can cause, assess your individual flood risk, and learn more about flood insurance.


Weather-Ready Nation
NOAA National Weather Service
With "Weather-Ready Nation,” NOAA and partners such as FEMA underscore being prepared when natural disasters hit, and how to stay safe at home, at school and at work.

Prepare My Business
U.S. Small Business Association
"Prepare My Business” looks at disaster planning as a lifeline to staying in business – up to 60% of small business never reopen following a disaster.

Earth Gauge
National Environmental Education Foundation
"Earth Gauge" delivers science-based quick facts, tips, videos and more, all aimed at building individual, community and national resiliency against environmental threats.

Global Disaster Preparedness Center
This site is a space for collaboration among practitioners in the disaster preparedness and related communities. The site offers a variety of ways in which users can share their own experience, contribute to the content, and ask questions. Practitioners and champions of disaster preparedness from all walks of life are welcome and encouraged to become part of the site community.

FEMA Building Science
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Publications, guidance, and tools that focus on creating disaster-resilient communities to reduce loss of life and property as a result of a variety of hazards.

FEMA Plan, Prepare & Mitigate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event. These resources help you plan for different hazards in your area.