Inderscience Publishers

Documenting damage, disruption, interdependencies and the emergency response of power and communication systems after earthquakes

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This paper describes the organisation and operation of the Earthquake Investigation Committee of the Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. The committee performs post-earthquake investigations of lifelines and the lifeline facilities of emergency responders, such as hospitals and public service answering points. The objectives of these investigations are identified along with the information that is to be collected. While the committee deals with all lifelines, this paper focuses on power and communication systems. Problems with gaining access to facilities and collecting data are discussed. Earthquakes can severely stress lifeline systems and bring to light such things as interdependencies and the effectiveness of emergency response procedures, thus providing information that is also applicable to other situations, such as storms and floods. Investigations have shown that there is a need to improve access to information about system problems and to disseminate the lessons learned to the lifeline community, so that system performance can be improved.

Keywords: power, communication, infrastructure, earthquakes, post-earthquake investigation, disaster preparedness

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