LFE Business Resilience Survey Working Group

Business Resilience Survey Header


The overall intent of the survey is to provide a consistent set of questions for tracking business recovery over time after an earthquake. This consistent set of questions will also facilitate comparisons across different events, and if coordinated among organizations, help limit “survey fatigue” for affected business owners. It can be used as a tool by a group of organizations wishing to coordinate their contact with businesses to understand their experience in the disaster. Most crucially, the survey tool explicitly links earthquake-induced building damage and utility disruption to business impacts, and tracks these impacts over time. As such, the survey comprises questions that focus on documenting both the physical damage caused by the earthquake and the resulting business disruption (i.e., the initial impacts of the earthquake). In addition, the survey includes questions that focus on documenting the business recovery process (i.e., the impacts of the earthquake over time), including repairing damage to buildings and changes to business operations to cope with earthquake impacts.


  1. Record physical damage and cascading economic impacts to businesses that have experienced a major US earthquake at various points throughout the response and recovery phase to track business impacts and recovery
  2. Enhance understanding of business resilience and ways to prepare for and mitigate the effects of earthquakes
  3. Improve post disaster monitoring to inform programs/policies to support business recovery
  4. To improve communication among engineers, architects, local and economic development planners and businesses

Pilot Studies

2014 South Napa, California

The survey was first piloted following the 2014 M6.0 South Napa Earthquake. There was a significant effort to survey a diverse cross-section of businesses and the pilot yielded 20 complete survey responses. The dataset from the South Napa Earthquake pilot was limited as the survey was launched 2 years after the earthquake, there few significantly impacted businesses, and it was difficult to engage busy business owners. More information about the pilot study is available in the 2017 EERI Annual Meeting Presentation and this 2016 SEAOC paper.

2016 Cushing, Oklahoma

The survey was piloted again following the 2016 M5.0 Cushing, Oklahoma earthquake. A random sample of 150 individual businesses listed in ReferenceUSA were surveyed. Teams made up of one structural engineer and one social scientist conducted both the business survey and a building damage assessment. Results from the Cushing, Oklahoma pilot study are included in the EERI Earthquake Reconnaissance Team Report: M5.0 Cushing, Oklahoma, USA Earthquake on November 7, 2016.

2018 Anchorage and Eagle River, Alaska

The 2018 M7.0 earthquake centered 14 kilometers north of Anchorage was occasion for a third launching of the pilot survey, approximately 3.5 months after the earthquake occurred. In this case a snowballing process of sampling was used, with the surveys conducted by engineers as part of their broader assessment of damage to the area. Only businesses that had been identified through the VERT team (virtual earthquake reconnaissance), observation of damage, or word of mouth were surveyed. All surveys were conducted in person with the business owner or manager, with responses entered into the Fulcrum phone app.

Results of the Efforts through 2020 and Ongoing Work

The working group has documented the process of the survey development in several conference presentations:

  1. The survey development process and pilot study following the Napa earthquake is summarized in a 2017 conference paper.
  2. Additional information on the work following the Napa and Cushing quakes is available in a briefing presentation.
  3. A short summary paper completed in 2021/2022 gives a quick overview of the work that has been done and next steps

Building on the pilot studies in Anchorage, Alaska, Cushing, Oklahoma and Napa, California, the Working Group has:

  1. Created an initial survey set to record Physical Building Damage and Business Impacts) that can be deployed quickly by EERI members conducting reconnaissance after an U.S. earthquake, or that can be shared with other organizations .
  2. Drafted an implementation plan, protocol or strategy for quick, effective survey deployment.
  3. Developed a follow-up process in the form of a repeatable survey that can record impacts and changes to business throughout the recovery phase.

The working group is continuing to monitor earthquake events as they occur, and is interested in partnering with local organizations to collaborate on business reconnaissance in the future. We are also working cooperatively with government resilience programs and academic institutions interested in monitoring the effects of seismic events or other disasters on business resilience. In addition, we are exploring ways to augment the business survey with more in-depth exploration of individual experiences through on-site observation and personal interviews. The working group now includes members who are with other organizations surveying businesses following disaster.

Survey questions are available in a pdf format. Organizations interested in launching the survey through Surveymonkey or Fulcrum should contact the Business Resilience Working Group Co-Chairs.

Working Group Participants

The LFE Business Resilience Survey Working Group Co-Chairs are:

Kroll square

Cynthia Kroll, Co-Chair

Wein Square

Anne Wein, Co-Chair

Working Group Members Include:

Charlotte Brown, Resilient Organizations
Dustin Cook, NIST
Juan Fung, NIST
Jennifer Helgeson, NIST
Michael Mieler, ARUP
Omar Plata, Consor
George Walker, US Census
Maria Watson, University of Florida
Yu Xiao, Portland State University
Heidi Tremayne, EERI
Maggie Ortiz-Millan, EERI

Past Working Group Members Include:

Alex Greer, Oklahoma State University
Erza Jampole, Exponent
Ibrahim Almufti, ARUP
Nicole Paul, GEM Foundation
Tristan Wu, Oklahoma State University


Please contact the  Working Group Chairs Cynthia Kroll (cynthia.a.kroll@gmail.com) and Anne Wein (wein_anne@hotmail.com) with questions related to LFE Business Resilience Survey.