A French delegation of 14 people visited PEER headquarters in Berkeley, California, on February 14, 2018, to learn about PEER activities and global seismic risk. The California-based part of the delegation included Mr. Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens (French Consul General in San Francisco), Mr. Christophe Lemoine (French Consul General in Los Angeles) and their staff. The international team traveled from Paris and included representatives from the communications and response units of the French Emergency Management Center for French Nationals Abroad.
The delegation was keen to learn how to be better prepared to assist the French communities abroad when there is an earthquake. In Haiti in 2010, the French Embassy was destroyed along with the French Residence, which was the home of the ambassador and diplomatic visitors. Therefore, mitigating the risks for the French population, along with the embassies and consulates, in the earthquake-prone areas was of great interest to the delegation.
PEER Director Khalid Mosalam discussed the Center’s activities, details of seismic activity around the world, how risk is evaluated, PEER’s performance based earthquake engineering methodology, and early warning systems. Director Mosalam also emphasized PEER’s ties with the France-Berkeley Fund, as well as the work that was done with sensors as a result of this collaboration. Additionally, Heidi Tremayne, Executive Director of EERI, talked about EERI’s efforts in reducing earthquake risks around the world.
Following the presentations, delegates from the international team asked questions about mitigating seismic risk: where to begin, what to do, and how to do it. Questions also arose about sensors and early warning systems. Mr. Philippe Perez, the Attaché for Science and Technology in San Francisco, enquired about the ways they can actively engage with the earthquake engineering community to stay abreast of latest developments. PEER and EERI recommended participation in the upcoming 11NCEE as a way to start participation. PEER will follow up with Mr. Perez in June 2018 about participation in the conference and other related activities.