Erik Salna, M.S.
Associate Director for Education and Outreach
FIU | Extreme Events Institute
Community Resilience: Increasing Public Understanding of Risk and Vulnerability to Natural Hazards through Research and the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind
The Extreme Events Institute (EEI) and International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami is at the forefront of reducing the impact of natural hazard events by reducing community vulnerabilities and understanding and managing exposure to hurricanes, storm surge and earthquakes. The goal is to provide a better public understanding of how changes in exposures and vulnerabilities will determine whether a community experiences an emergency, disaster or catastrophe. The end-result is improved community resilience. This is accomplished through research in disaster risk reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean, storm surge modeling, economic loss modeling, and wind engineering by the NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind. The Wall of Wind is the largest and most powerful university research facility of its kind and is capable of simulating a Category 5 hurricane. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has designated the Wall of Wind as one of the nation’s major “Experimental Facilities” under the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program. EEI also collaborated on a one-hour independent documentary, “Built to Last?” Saving our Homes in the Age of Disasters.” The documentary focuses on how architectural innovations can mitigate the harm caused by natural hazards and illustrates what ordinary people around the world can do to make their homes safe and hazard-resilient.