1. From Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015:

    Fallen finial fragments from the Washington National Cathedral

    Washington, D.C.

    Central Virginia Earthquake, August 23, 2011

    Collection of the Washington National Cathedral

    These limestone fragments are from a pinnacle of a flying buttress on the southeast end of the Washington National Cathedral. Damage to the structure—located some 80 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake—was concentrated in its highest parts, where stones were literally shaken apart. Together with other stone features, the pinnacles help balance the Cathedral’s weight and counter the force of wind. Restoring and reinforcing them is a high priority. The Cathedral sustained a staggering $26 million in damages. Repairs to the nave’s interior have begun, along with work on the flying buttresses that support the exterior apse. Subsequent repairs are dependent on additional funding and will likely take years to complete.

     

  2. These beautiful illustrations map the patterns of one of the world’s most powerful forces - the wind.

     

  3. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Big Burn, August 20–21, 1910

    Assessing the damage in Wallace, Idaho, 1910

    Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho

    The loss of three million acres in Idaho, Washington, and Montana prompted various land-management agencies to emphasize wildfire suppression as an overarching policy. The U.S. Forest Service increased its dedication to fighting every fire.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015.

     

  4. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Hurricane Camille, August 16–21, 1969

    Main Street facing West, Richmond, Virginia, August 23, 1969

    Richmond Times Dispatch

    Hurricane Camille made landfall in Mississippi and traveled north over the interior—an unprecedented path—before heading east and out to sea from Virginia. The devastation inspired the implementation of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, which correlates wind speed and potential property damage.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015.

     

  5. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Mann Gulch Fire, August 5, 1949

    Investigators survey the damage, Helena National Forest, Montana, 1949

    National Interagency Fire Center                                                             

    The fire overwhelmed 13 firefighters in the Helena National Forest. In response, the U.S. Forest Service initiated new fire science research and improved training to include increased safety protocols for firefighters, including smokejumpers.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015. 

     

  6. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Great Midwest Flood, April–October, 1993

    The Mississippi River engulfs Kaskaskia Island, Illinois, August 2, 1993

    United States Department of Defense; photo SSgt Paul Griffin

    More than a 1,000 levees failed in the worst flooding along the Mississippi River since 1927. In response, officials supported increasing the use of non-traditional mitigation strategies such as relocation, expanding managed flood corridors, and stricter land use regulations.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015.

     

  7. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Yellowstone Fires, July–August, 1988

    Crown fire at Grant Village campground, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, July 23, 1988

    National Park Service; photo Jeff Henry

    As a result of research conducted after the “Summer of Fires,” a new plan outlined strict guidelines for managing natural fires, increased fire-monitor staffing, and allocated greater funding for fire management.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015.

     

  8. Mitigation Milestones

    Today in history:

    Fort Collins Flood, July 28, 1997

    Damage to Morgan Library, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, August 1997

    Colorado State University Special Collections

    Forecasters lacked critical information and failed to predict this severe flood. In response, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network, which makes extensive use of rain gauges, was formed to improve emergency alert systems.

    To learn more about disaster mitigation, visit Designing for Disaster at the National Building Museum, on view through August 2, 2015.

     

  9. The recently completed retrofit of the Bay Bridge, a
    designated emergency “lifeline” route, includes a new, self-
    anchored suspension span—the largest bridge of its kind
    anywhere. The East Span is largely designed to be elastic, with
    sections engineered to move independently. ©Steve Proehl
     


  10. Designed to break the cycle of disaster, rather than repeat it, mitigation can not only help save lives, protect property, and reduce losses, it can also help individuals, communities, and regions recover more quickly after a disaster.