Earthquake Program

SEMA’s Earthquake Program informs Missourians about the region’s earthquake hazard and steps that can be taken to prepare for earthquakes and their potential consequences. Program activities include assisting in state-level response planning for an earthquake, particularly one in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which includes much of eastern and southern Missouri.

The program supports important earthquake-related projects and events, such as the St. Louis Area Earthquake Hazards Mapping Project; the Great Central U.S. "ShakeOut," an 11-state central U.S. earthquake drill; and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s New Madrid Earthquake Scenario Project.

The program also assists with important training events, including SAVE Coalition training classes, Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium "Disaster Medicine" classes, and FEMA nonstructural mitigation classes. The program works closely with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geology and Land Survey, and other state, federal, and private technical experts to ensure SEMA remains up to date on earthquake research, mitigation techniques and ways to protect and inform the public about the region’s earthquake hazard.

The earthquake program manager serves as state representative for both the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission and the Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition. The Earthquake Program also helps organize and publicize Earthquake Awareness Month, which is held each February in Missouri.


To rapidly deploy credentialed volunteer SAVE Inspectors to assist SEMA, local jurisdictions and local building inspectors to determine if buildings are safe for continued occupancy and provide essential demolition, cleanup, or other related services in the event of an earthquake or other disasters, including manmade disasters.


Authority: Section 44.023.

Establishment: The SAVE (Structural Assessment Visual Evaluation) Coalition was authorized by RSMo 44.023 whereby volunteer architects and engineers registered under Chapter 327, RSMo, and construction contractors, equipment dealers and other owners and operators of construction equipment may volunteer the use of their services and equipment for up to three days when activated by SEMA. The statute established the duties of SEMA to oversee, support and activate the volunteer organization, specified local government responsibility to reimburse SAVE Volunteer Inspectors’ out-of-pocket expenses and granted SAVE Volunteer Inspectors immunity from liability, except in cases of gross or willful negligence.

Purpose: The purpose of the SAVE Coalition is to implement a building inspection program for disaster events such as earthquakes and other natural disasters. Following catastrophic events, unsafe buildings of all types pose serious hazards to their occupants, creating an immediate need for damage inspections throughout the affected areas. People may need to be kept from using unsafe buildings, and safe shelter must be provided for those left homeless. Regular building inspection officials may become overloaded instantly and require additional help. It is essential that qualified SAVE inspectors quickly identify structures that are safe for reentry and those that must be avoided. In some instances under SEMA’s Section 44.023 emergency volunteer program, other volunteers may be needed to assist in emergency demolition, cleanup or other related emergency services.

Eligibility: Credentialed Volunteers – Credentialed SAVE Volunteer Inspectors include architects or professional engineers, or certain building inspectors or skilled construction industry personnel with at least 5 years of verifiable general building design, construction contractor, or inspection experience. Other Section 44.023 SEMA Volunteers – Under this statute, other emergency volunteer participants include construction equipment dealers, owners and operators who are willing on a temporary, as needed basis to provide the use of their services and equipment (either manned or unmanned) for up to 3 days when requested. SEMA maintains contact and liaison with organizations in the state that can provide these services and equipment – including the "Plan Bulldozer" Committee of the Heavy Constructors Association of The Greater Kansas City Area, the Kansas City Chapter Associated General Contractors, and the Disaster Resource Council of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Credentials: Each SAVE Volunteer Inspector must attend SAVE Coalition ATC-20 training to receive SAVE credentials. Every 3 years, each SAVE Volunteer Inspector must be recertified.

ATC-20 Training: SAVE Volunteer Inspectors must attend the ATC-20 Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings course to receive SAVE inspector credentials and become a SAVE team member qualified to inspect disaster damaged buildings. During the course, procedures and documents are presented which promote uniformity in the rating of building damages so that different individuals examining the same building will arrive at the same conclusion about its relative safety. At the course, each SAVE inspector will receive a field manual and detailed instructions to guide their future work. Some professional organizations also award continuing education credit for completion of this course.

SAVE Board of Directors

Member Association Office
David Weber, P.E., S.E. ( Chair) Structural Engineers Assoc. of Kansas & Missouri Allstate Consultants,
Michael J. Griffin, P.E. (Vice-Chair) Earthquake Engineering Research Inst/New Madrid CCS Group, Inc., Chesterfield
John Finke, P.E. American Council of Engineering Companies/MO Jacobs Engineering Group, St. Louis
VACANT American Council of Engineering Companies/MO  
John Waggoner American Institute of Architects/Missouri Arning Companies Inc., Cassville
Bud Gruchalla American Institute of Architects/Missouri Mainline Group Architecture, Inc, St. Louis
James A. Taylor, P.E., S.E. American Society of Civil Engineers - St. Louis ABS Consulting,
Maryland Heights
Benjamin Ross, P.E., PTOE American Society of Civil Engineers - St. Louis Eng. Surveys/Services,
Gregory L. Hempen, PhD, P.E., R.G. Earthquake Engineering Research Inst/New Madrid URS Corporation, St. Louis
Thomas B. Ellis, P.E. Associate Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Ellis Engineers, St.Louis
Dennis Kidwell, P.E. Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Kidwell Construction, Inc., Kingdom City
Mark A. Roenfeldt, P.E. Society of American Military Engineers St.Louis U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis
Stephen L. McCaskie, P.E. Society of American Military Engineers St.Louis Hanson Professional Services, Inc., St. Louis
Steve Stack, P.E. Structural Engineers Assoc. of Kansas & Missouri Wallace Engineering, Kansas City
James D. Palmer, P.E., S.E. Missouri Seismic Safety Commission Kansas City Power & Light, Kansas City
Dennis Kidwell, P.E. SAVE Coalition Statewide Coordinator

Kidwell Construction, Inc.,
Kingdom City

Theodore Pruess, P.E. SAVE Coalition Training Coordinator Larson Engineering, St. Louis


Board Mission Statement: The Seismic Safety Commission shall review the "State of State" in earthquake preparedness and make recommendations for the government; private sector and citizens to better mitigate the effects of a major seismic event within the state or an event that will affect the state.


Authority: Sections 44.225 - 44.237, RSMo. Board Function: The Missouri Seismic Safety Commission initiates, with the assistance and participation of other state, federal and local government agencies, a comprehensive program to prepare the state for responding to a major earthquake. The program was implemented in order to result in specific tools or products to be used by governments in responding to an earthquake, such as educational materials for citizens.

Number of Members: 17 members.

Number of Members Appointed by Governor: 15.

Length of Term: 4 years.

Senate Advice and Consent Required: yes.

Political Affiliation Required: no.

Geographic Affiliation Required: no.

Special Membership Requirements: Yes, one Commissioner is selected to represent each of the following professional areas: architecture, planning, fire protection, public utilities, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, soils engineering, geology, seismology, local government, insurance, business, the American Red Cross and emergency management.

Commission Members

Name City Representing Term Ends
Art Bond AIA, NCARB Saint Louis Architecture July 1, 2010
Dr. Phillip Gould, P.E. (Chairman) Richmond Heights Electrical Engineering July 1, 2012
John Mallott Kennett Fire Protection July 1, 2012
Miles "Joe" Green Boonville Insurance July 1, 2012
Joel P. Evans Sikeston Local Government July 1, 2012
The Honorable Billy Pat Wright Dexter MO House No Term Limit
The Honorable Rob Mayer Dexter MO Senate No Term Limit
Dr. Gregory Hempen Ph.D., P.E., R.G. Saint Louis Planning July 1, 2010
John C. Farris Fredericktown Public Utilities July 1, 2012
Donald W. Shaw (Vice Chairman) Jefferson City Public Utilities July 1, 2012
Eric Sandvol Columbia Seismology July 1, 2012
Dr. Raymond Bailey, Ph.D, P.E., R.G. (Secretary) Saint Charles Soils Engineering July 1, 2012
James D. Palmer, P.E. Kansas City Structural Engineering July 1, 2010