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Team Member Roles

EERI reconnaissance teams are comprised of volunteers.  EERI is not able to compensate participants for the significant time reconnaissance activities demand.  Limited funding is often available to reimburse travel and lodging expenses during the field research period.  Participants are expected to have a valid passport and must sign a hold-harmless statement before embarking into the field.  Participants are responsible for obtaining all necessary health and medical advice, and must be able to demonstrate they have proper inoculations and medical evacuation insurance prior to departure.  More information about the roles and selection process for team leaders and members are below.

EERI reconnaissance roles vary depending on the earthquake location and whether EERI will be supporting an EERI funded team.  The three primary situations are below:

For more information, view EERI’s complete LFE Operations Protocols, approved on Dec 8, 2015.

1. Reconnaissance Roles for earthquakes worldwide (except California) utilizing EERI funded teams:

1.a Team Leader

The reconnaissance team leader is responsible for: coordinating team activities; coordinating interactions with other reconnaissance teams; providing field and synthesis reports; organizing daily team debriefings, either physically or electronically; coordinating collaboration with locals; interact with the media, as needed; submitting a brief written report on team activities to the LFE Executive Committee within one week of returning from the field; discussing the report with the LFE Executive Committee within two weeks of returning from the field. This discussion will include development of an action plan for further actions including dissemination of the findings and support of collateral research.

Reconnaissance team leaders are selected considering a range of factors, including: experience in earthquake reconnaissance; familiarity with the particulars of the event and the community in which the event occurred; personal connections with local experts and organizations; expertise in the areas of main interest for the reconnaissance 4 of 9 activity; and availability and commitment to leading the activity. Except in exceptional cases, the team leader must be an EERI member in good standing, and the team leader must have served previously as a member of an EERI reconnaissance team. In general, it is good practice to spread the opportunities and responsibilities of team leadership among qualified EERI members rather than these being limited to a few individuals. Therefore, it is preferred (but not required) to select team leaders who have not previously served as a team leader. The use of co-team leaders to spread the workload and to train future team leaders can be considered. Selection of team leader(s) is made by the LFE Executive Committee, with input from LFE Staff, and approval by the EERI Board Executive Committee. EERI Board of Directors, LFE Committee, and other EERI committees may also be consulted in the selection of the team leader. The LFE Committee Chair or a representative from the LFE Executive Committee is responsible for informing the LFE committee and EERI Board of the appointed team leader(s) in a timely manner.

1.b Team Members

Team members are responsible for conducting reconnaissance in their assigned disciplinary focus area, collaborating with the other EERI team members, 5 of 9 collaborating with other reconnaissance teams and locals, conducting data collection with the use of EERI field tools or uploading observations post-field reconnaissance using EERI upload tools, participating in dissemination activities (i.e. reports and briefings), and any other specific tasks or responsibilities as outlined by the team leader.

The team leader will work with the LFE Executive Committee and LFE Staff to select the team members. EERI Board of Directors, LFE Committee, and other EERI committees may also be consulted in the formation of the team. The LFE Committee Chair or a representative from the LFE Executive Committee is responsible for informing the LFE committee and EERI Board of the appointed team members in a timely manner. Reconnaissance team members are selected considering a range of factors, including: experience in earthquake reconnaissance; familiarity with the particulars of the event and the community in which the event occurred; personal connections with local experts and organizations; expertise in the areas of main interest for the reconnaissance activity; and availability and commitment to participate in the reconnaissance and dissemination activity. Reconnaissance teams will be multidisciplinary in discipline. Similarly, teams will consist of a diversity of experience, facilitating the training of young professionals and students. Except in exceptional cases, a team member must be an EERI member in good standing. Members can express their interest in particular events by submitting a brief application through the EERI website. Such an application page will be created for each particular event, and an open call will be put out to the full membership. It is noted that in some circumstances there will not be enough time to develop a team in this manner. LFE staff contacts potential team members and manages the process of forming the team. A young professional team member may also be added for the purpose of capacity building and to contribute to the goals of the reconnaissance. Other team members could also be assigned to support dissemination of field information, data collection utilizing EERI tools, or other tasks, though their ability to travel with the team will depend on budget constraints. Most importantly, the role and responsibilities of each team member both during and after field reconnaissance should be defined before he or she is selected to participate.

1.c Virtual Team Collaborator

A Virtual Team Collaborator (VTC) is a role created to engage more members in reconnaissance activities, especially early career professionals and students. Each VTC will be paired with a field team member in a matching discipline or interest area.   The responsibilities will include the following items, though tasks will vary depending on the needs of each field team member: (1) Pre-departure Information Synthesis to glean and synthesize the most important information, reports, articles, or locations of particular interest to the team member’s role and focus areas.  Field team members’ time will be limited preparing for departure and wrapping up other obligations, so VTCs will need to be concise and share the most relevant information, not necessarily all information; (2) Dissemination Support upon return of Field Team Member. Upon the field team member’s return, the VTC may also be needed to help upload field images and captions to the data map or help clean up any messy field contributions.  The VTC may also contribute to the compilation of text or slides for the EERI Earthquake Reconnaissance Summary Report or Briefing Webinar.  EERI staff select VTCs based on the following criteria: past EERI involvement, current EERI membership, expressed interest in participating, relevant skills or knowledge about the region impacted by the earthquake, and expertise/disciplinary match with team members.

1.d Clearinghouse Curators

Clearinghouse curators are responsible for gathering and gleaning information from media reports and technical resources into curated summaries that are posted on to the earthquake’s virtual clearinghouse website. Well-crafted summaries are expected to help inform reconnaissance activities, identify impacted regions, and help document the timeline of earthquake response/recovery.  Curation is intended to help populate the clearinghouse with useful information while also providing a pathway for early career processionals and students to consideration on future reconnaissance efforts, and possible follow up missions. The curators will likely benefit in the following ways: (1) Curators will be given name recognition for their topics on the virtual clearinghouse website; (2) Curators may have opportunities to present to the LFE Executive Committee and Reconnaissance Team members; (3) Curators will be strong candidates for being paired with a field team member as a VTC.

2. Reconnaissance roles for damaging California earthquakes or tsunamis:

The establishment of a physical California Earthquake Clearinghouse after earthquakes was mandated by the California Governor in the 1970’s. The Management Group for the California Earthquake Clearinghouse includes the California Geological Survey (chair), EERI (vice chair), California Seismic Safety Commission, California Emergency Management Agency, and U. S. Geological Survey. Due to EERI’s formal role in the California Earthquake Clearinghouse management group, EERI’s LFE operations for a California earthquake differ from earthquakes in other locations.

Due to the large number of EERI members located in California, EERI expects broad member participation in reconnaissance activities. The traditional limited-size EERI-funded team approach used for worldwide earthquakes will not be relevant in damaging CA earthquakes. EERI’s response will be lead by an EERI Reconnaissance Lead for the earthquake and discipline leaders who will coordinate reconnaissance activities, reports, and briefings in the major disciplinary areas, as well as interact with the media and government agencies, but there will be no limit on who can participate through the virtual or physical clearinghouses.

For some consistency from a typical EERI member perspective, the use of EERI data collection and visualization tools should be commonplace for both California earthquakes and all other earthquakes worldwide. This will allow members to build upon approaches used in one earthquake and apply them to any future earthquakes.

2.a Reconnaissance Lead

The formal title of the Reconnaissance Lead will be “EERI Reconnaissance Lead for the <insert earthquake name> earthquake.” The Reconnaissance Lead is responsible for: coordinating the EERI response and reconnaissance activities by all EERI members who volunteer to conduct reconnaissance, with the support of the disciplinary leaders; coordinating interactions with other reconnaissance teams, with support of the disciplinary leaders; reviewing field data as it is collected to identify reconnaissance needs, gaps and points of interest, with the support of disciplinary leaders; interacting with the media on behalf of EERI and the California Earthquake Clearinghouse, as needed; interacting with Clearinghouse partners and government agencies to ensure access to resources and restricted areas for EERI members; coordinating EERI responses to requests from Clearinghouse partners and government agencies; collaborating with the California Clearinghouse members, as a member of the Synthesis Team to conduct daily synthesis briefing and prepare daily synthesis reports; conducting daily coordination meetings with all disciplinary leaders to ensure daily strategies, priorities and plans are aligned; coordinating dissemination activities (i.e. reports and briefings), and any other specific tasks or responsibilities uniquely needed for the earthquake. It is expected that the Reconnaissance Lead will spend the majority of each day at the physical Clearinghouse exercising their role, instead of conducting field investigations. LFE staff will be assigned to support the implementation of many of these tasks.

EERI’s LFE Executive Committee will appoint the Reconnaissance Lead, with input from LFE Staff, and approval by the EERI Board Executive Committee.

2.b Disciplinary Leaders

The disciplinary leaders are responsible for: coordinating and directing reconnaissance activities by all EERI volunteers within their disciplinary focus area; coordinating interactions with other reconnaissance teams investigating within their disciplinary focus area; reviewing field data within their disciplinary focus area to identify reconnaissance needs, gaps and points of interest; promoting the use of data collection with the EERI and Clearinghouse data collection tools; interacting with the media, as needed; supporting the development of content for daily synthesis briefings and reports; ensuring reconnaissance strategies, priorities and plans are outlined within their disciplinary focus area each night for the following day; participating in dissemination activities (i.e. reports and briefings) as outlined in section 6, and any other specific tasks or responsibilities uniquely needed for the earthquake. It is expected that the Reconnaissance Lead will spend approximately half of each day at the physical Clearinghouse exercising their role, and half of each day conducting field investigations. LFE staff will provide support, as needed.

The Reconnaissance Lead will work with the LFE Executive Committee and LFE Staff to select the disciplinary leads. EERI Board of Directors, LFE Committee, and other EERI committees may also be consulted in the selection of these leads. These leads need to be identified within a few hours to the first days of the Clearinghouse establishment. The most typical disciplinary lead categories include the following, however additional leads can be appointed depending on the needs of the earthquake:

  • GeoScience
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structures
  • Critical Infrastructure and Lifelines
  • Transportation
  • Economic Impacts
  • Social Impacts

2.c Data Synthesis Team

A Synthesis team, appointed once it is clear who is at the Clearinghouse, and in coordination with other agencies in the Management Committee of the CA Clearinghouse, will meet at the physical clearinghouse to produce daily synthesis reports for CA emergency responders, California clearinghouse partner organizations, and EERI members. EERI reconnaissance lead will serve on this team, with disciplinary leaders as needed.

3. Reconnaissance roles for earthquakes worldwide utilizing EERI members & colleagues in the local region (NOT utilizing EERI-funded teams):

Shortly following an earthquake that is reported in the media, or upon receiving notification from the USGS, EERI staff will contact EERI members and/or colleagues with whom EERI has a relationship in the affected country to gain more information. Members in an affected country may also volunteer information on the extent of damage and the performance of structures as well as geotechnical effects.

In consultation with the LFE Committee chair, and relevant subcommittees, EERI staff may recommend that the event be documented in several ways: 1) a short article can be prepared for The Pulse, documenting initial damage and including a few photos; 2) a virtual clearinghouse can be established to collect initial impressions and photos; 3) a page in the LFE Archives can be created for the event where reports from the affected country can be posted as well as The Pulse article and any other useful links; 4) a photo gallery with captions can be added to the Best Photos Gallery in the Members only section of the website; and 5) an ‘EERI Member-Contributed LFE Reconnaissance Report’ prepared by EERI members.

Members interested in creating and submitting an ‘EERI Locally-Contributed LFE Reconnaissance Report’ should utilize the EERI template (download). Acceptance criteria for reports published in LFE website are (1) the subject of the report should represent a relevant earthquake reconnaissance effort; (2) the work is of sufficient technical quality, including adequacy and conciseness of presentation; (3) the information presented is timely; (4) the report contains findings from several disciplines; and (5) approval by an Ad-hoc committee formed by the LFE Chair at the time of submission.