The Alliance

Our Purpose

What we do to prepare now,
before the next disaster,
will determine our
quality of life afterwards

Everywhere in California can experience damaging earthquakes. While much has been done to prepare, more is needed.

Those of us committed to improving earthquake safety and reducing risk must find new ways to inspire all Californians to take responsibility and act now to increase resiliency. This is how Californians will not only survive the next big disaster, but get our lives, neighborhoods and businesses back on track quickly.

None of us can do this alone. Creating a culture of resiliency for all Californians depends on leveraging our efforts and sharing our strengths.

The purpose of the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) is to facilitate these efforts. ECA is a statewide public-private partnership of people, organizations, and regional alliances that work together to improve preparedness, mitigation and resiliency.


To support and coordinate efforts which improve earthquake and tsunami resilience.


  • People of California take active steps to ready and protect themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities for earthquakes and tsunamis
  • People of California perpetuate a self sustaining culture of readiness and resiliency by sharing their readiness and mitigation activities with one another
  • A robust network of public and private stake holder organizations, regional alliances, and individuals effectively coordinate earthquake education efforts that inspire the people of California to stay ready and resilient


Our Activities

  • ECA’s cornerstone activity is The Great California ShakeOut, an annual statewide event with millions of participants intended to inspire preparedness in schools, businesses, state agencies, and all other organizations. Register today at
  • Through support of California’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, ECA encourages all Californians to understand tsunami hazards and how to respond to natural and official warnings.
  • ECA develops consistent statewide messaging, available through the website and printed materials. The best known are our Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes booklets (statewide and regional versions) and Living on Shaky Ground in the North Coast area.
  • ECA members can support the development of activities and materials for specific groups by serving on statewide committees for businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations, healthcare, k-12 schools, higher education, seniors and people with disabilities, public sector agencies, museums and parks, and several others.


Our Organization

ECA was founded in 2003 in Southern California when the USC-headquartered Southern California Earthquake Center’s  Communication, Education, and Outreach (SCEC CEO) program, led by Mark Benthien, hosted a meeting of many partners who also deliver earthquake information and preparedness activities to plan activities for the 10th anniversary of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. SCEC created the initial ECA website, and in addition led efforts to update the Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country booklet for the first time, for which the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety was first developed.  Caltech hosted a major public event on January 17, 2004 to commemorate the anniversary.  ECA continued to expand coordination, and launched the “Dare to Prepare” campaign in 2007 for the 150th Anniversary of the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake, the last major event on the southern San Andreas fault.

In late 2007, a USGS project led by Dr. Lucy Jones with more than 300 experts from earth science, engineering, social science, policy, and practice was developing an extensive analysis of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southernmost section of the San Andreas, which hadn’t ruptured in more than 300 years.  ECA leaders met to organize a public information campaign for the release of the study, which would culminate in a week-long set of events in November 2008 including the first regional earthquake drill, the Great Southern California ShakeOut. The study was called the ShakeOut Scenario.  More than 5.4 million people participated in what was planned to be a one-time event.

With the success of this first ShakeOut, public expectation for the event to be annual also extended to the rest of California, and in 2009 the drill expanded statewide, along with ECA in partnership with Earthquake Country Alliance Bay Area (originally “Bay Area Earthquake Alliance”) and the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group. Other regional alliances may join the ECA in the future representing other parts of the state.

Each regional alliance conducts its own activities and collaborates with the others via the statewide ECA, which continues to be coordinated by the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC. Statewide committees determine sector-based needs and develop resources. ECA is best known for coordinating the annual Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill and developing multi-sector educational resources on this website.

Significant support for SCEC CEO to administer ECA is through a subgrant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Earthquake Program which receives NEHRP state-support from FEMA’s Building Science Branch. Additional activities are supported through SCEC’s funding from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Geological Survey, and at times other sponsors at various levels.

Strategic Partner Organizations:






Benefits of Participating

As an ECA member you will:

  • coordinate your programs with larger activities to multiply their impact;
  • be known for your commitment to earthquake and tsunami risk reduction;
  • have access to a variety of resources on earthquake and tsunami preparedness
  • network with earthquake professionals, emergency managers, government officials, business and community leaders, public educators, and many others;
  • be connected with ECA sector-based committees developing customized materials and activities;
  • align your activities with others in your area and with strategic partners (below);
  • share the most current information on earthquake and tsunami preparedness.

In addition to supporting existing regional alliances and encouraging new ones, ECA welcomes all agencies, businesses, organizations and individuals who are stakeholders in earthquake preparedness.

Join us today!


Regional Alliances

Regions: Chairs:
Earthquake Country Alliance,
Southern California
Heidi Rosofsky, Global Vision Consortium
Margaret Vinci, Caltech Earthquake Programs
Earthquake Country Alliance,
Bay Area
Ray Bonilla, Kaiser Permanente
Daniel Homsey, City & County of San Francisco
Dena Gunning, Central County Fire Dept. (San Mateo)
Redwood Coast Tsunami
Work Group
Ryan Aylward, National Weather Service
Earthquake Country Alliance,
Central Coast (forming)


ECA Administration

Earthquake Country Alliance
c/o So. Calif. Earthquake Center
3651 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Mark Benthien ECA Executive Director
ECA Events Bureau Liaison
SCEC Director for Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO)
Sharon Sandow ECA Deputy Director
ECA Bay Area and RCTWG Liaison
ECA Statewide Committees Liaison
SCEC CEO Dir. for Strategic Partnerships
Jason Ballmann ECA Media Bureau Liaison
ECA Participation Bureau Liaison
SCEC CEO Communications Manager
Dr. Gabriela Noriega ECA Southern California Liaison
SCEC Manager of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement
John Marquis ECA Webmaster and Database Manager
SCEC CEO Webmaster and Database Manager


Diagram showing SCEC staff roles in support of Regional Alliance Chairs and activity coordinators