The Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Project: Evolution of an Earthquake Entrepreneur

November 1985 (VOL. 3, NO. 3)

Download this article

A major problem for at governments in earthquake prone countries is how to improve the process of preparedness. In the U.S., a relatively novel mechanism was created to accelerate the pace and intensity of preparedness, including prediction response. Known as the Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Project (SCEPP), the entity had federal and state mandates and funding. It was an extension of federal and state policy into local government and the private sector. Established in 1980 as a temporary, three year organization under one agency in California, it continues today with a five county region of southern California (including Los Angeles) that would be devastated by an expected great earthquake on the south-central San Andreas fault. Although it had a limited budget, small staff, and experienced delays and leadership crisis in its early life, SCEPP is widely regarded today as having made a contribution to earthquake preparedness and prediction response in southern California. This article reviews the evolution of SCEPP as an \\"earthquake entrepreneur\\" and draws lessons from its record of relevance to government and earthquake preparedness generally. SCEPP represents an organizational model that may be considered by other earthquake-threatened settings.