What is public policy?
In general, public policy refers to a plan or course of action adopted and pursued by a government in response to a perceived societal problem. It has the power to shape our communities and affect our quality of living. For example, the vulnerability of our physical infrastructure to earthquakes poses a significant threat to public health and safety. In response, we have developed and enacted a set of public policies, including building codes and retrofit ordinances, in an attempt to address this problem. As a result, the seismic safety of our physical infrastructure has improved substantially over time.
Why is EERI involved in public policy?
EERI’s involvement in public policy stems from its mission statement: to reduce earthquake risk in part by advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes. One way EERI fulfills this role is by forging consensus and speaking with a common voice to public forums and legislative bodies on behalf of the diverse risk management community. By participating in such efforts, EERI draws attention to the issues most important to its members, which include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.
In addition to advocating issues on behalf of its members, EERI also pursues policies that, in general, promote earthquake research and seismic strengthening of physical infrastructure. Learn more about EERI’s mission.
Why should I get involved?
In order to successfully affect public policy, EERI needs active participation from its members to help (1) identify and study important earthquake-related problems, (2) evaluate potential solutions to determine the most appropriate one(s), and (3) support policymakers in advocating and implementing the chosen solution(s). The resulting policies have the power to not only shape our communities and affect our quality of living, but also influence the very future of our profession. Please consider sharing your valuable expertise to help EERI develop and advocate policies that will reduce earthquake risk and improve the physical foundations of our communities.
Where can I get more information about public policy?
“Public Policy and Building Safety”, Marjorie Greene, editor; January 1996, 57 pp. A white paper written for building officials and engineers involved in incorporating social, economic, and political considerations in decisions about building safety.
“Earthquake Risk Reduction: Addressing the Unmet Challenges”, A White Paper prepared by an EERI Working Group; January 2008, 32 pp.
“Construction Quality, Education, and Seismic Safety”, Cynthia A. Hoover, Marjorie R. Greene, eds; April 1996, 68 pp. This white paper addresses a topic of critical importance to everyone involved in designing, constructing, and inspecting buildings so they perform successfully in an earthquake.
“Ethical issues and Earthquake Risk Reduction”, Prepared by Tim Healy and the EERI Seismic Ethics Committee; January 1998, 70 pp. This white paper, based on the premise that ethics are important but often unacknowledged in earthquake risk reduction, is intended as a resource to help professionals recognize, understand, and apply ethical principles in their work.
“Financial management of Earthquake Risk”, Prepared by the Committee for the Project on Financial Decisions and Catastrophe Risk; February 2000, 128 pp.
“Examples of Successful Seismic Safety Advocates”, Robert B. Olshansky, writer; 2003, 73 pp.