Caribou County News

SE Idaho Seismic Vulnerability Project Launches
Boise State University Hazard and Climate Resilience Institute students and faculty to begin building evaluations the week of May 22.
Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, and Oneida County, ID – Southeastern Idaho is one of the most seismically active areas of the state. Idaho’s Office of Emergency Management (IOEM) wants to determine which buildings are most at risk to earthquakes in Caribou, Bear Lake, Franklin, and Oneida Counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), IOEM, and their contractors have worked with Boise State University’s Hazard and Climate Resilience Institute (HCRI) to support this project. Boise State students and faculty will begin field work to assess the outsides of commercial buildings in May and June. Each county made a list of structures to assess for risk during earthquake events; they named more than 120 buildings in all. Private homes and previously assessed state buildings and schools are not a part of this project. All buildings were chosen by county leaders in each community. They all meet the project criteria.
Brittany D. Brand, Ph.D., Director for the Boise State HCRI, shared, “This is an opportunity for Boise State faculty and students to work on an important, local project that builds community resilience. Students from Geoscience, Physics, and Civil Engineering will work in teams to evaluate the potential for earthquake-induced damage to critical buildings in four southeast Idaho counties. They will work with Boise State faculty to recommend earthquake retrofits, which will be shared with the county emergency managers and included in the State of Idaho Hazard Mitigation Plan.” Four faculty members and seven students are funded to take part in this project.

The HCRI team will use the “rapid visual screening” method during the inspections. This will help them get a sense of safety and usability during and after earthquakes. It also lets teams assess a building without SE Idaho Seismic Vulnerability Project Launches 2 having to go into it. Local officials can use the data to plan future actions like retrofits, emergency-response needs, and mitigation projects.
One of the students who will be in the field is an upcoming graduate and physics major, Alessia Molino. Molino said, “I was initially interested in this project as I am exploring potential career options, and I felt like this could help me discover what I am most interested in. Additionally, as someone with a physics background, it’s a great experience to apply my education to a situation that will help protect people from natural hazards.”
County leaders have worked with IOEM; they helped figure out the needs for this project. They also helped organize support for it on behalf of their communities.

At the end of the project, each county will have a resilience toolkit. It will have a list of actions that residents can take to be more resilient. The project’s goal is to reduce the amount of loss in the event of an earthquake.
We cannot prevent an earthquake. Still, IOEM wants to take every chance to prepare, educate and pinpoint how to best support the community in response to a disaster. It will work with counties to do this. Recommendations may include:
  • Retrofits for buildings.
  • Creation of education and awareness programs. 
  • Updates to local plans for recovery and response.
These measures can be used in future local and State Hazard Mitigation Plan updates.
The project is being funded by a National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program grant and FEMA’s Community Engagement and Risk Communication contract.
The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of July.
Learn more:
Idaho Office of Emergency Management
The Boise State HCRI fosters interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration to build connected, thriving, resilient communities. We are dedicated to working with community partners to co-develop solutions-oriented, applied research projects that address chronic stresses and help them prepare for acute shocks, thus promoting community resilience.
FEMA, Region 10, Risk Analysis Branch: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Wendy Shaw, Risk Analysis Branch Chief,
Damage Result from 2023 Spring Survey - Survey
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Nowhere can you find a more beautiful county rich in history, scenic beauty, hunting, fishing, farmland, grazing, and the largest phospate deposits in the world. Come see for yourself what a wonderful place Caribou County is to live and work. Caribou County is a county located in the U.S. state of Idaho. As of the 2010 Census the county had a population of 6,963. We hope you explore the unique feature our county has to offer.

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