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UB's Experts in Extreme Events Are Available for Media During Vigilant Guard Exercise

Release Date: November 2, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo professors involved in the UB 2020 strategic strength in extreme events are lending their expertise to media this week during the Vigilant Guard exercise organized by the New York National Guard and state, regional and local officials.

The purpose of Vigilant Guard New York, the largest emergency response exercise ever conducted in Western New York, is to enhance the emergency preparedness of military and civilian personnel in the region. According to this Vigilant Guard exercise scenario, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck Western New York and more than 1,300 National Guard troops and hundreds of local and regional emergency response professionals have been deployed. Exercises in search and rescue, ground and air medical evacuation and critical infrastructure inspections will occur at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base, at the former Spaulding Fibre Plant site in Tonawanda and at other locations throughout Western New York.

At UB, extreme events researchers conduct projects to study and improve mitigation and response to natural and man-made disasters. Areas of specialization include multi-hazard engineering, geohazard studies, seismic design and retrofit of buildings and bridges, "smart" transportation systems, structural dynamics and blast engineering. UB also is the home of MCEER, a national center of excellence focused on multi-hazard engineering and dedicated to the discovery and development of new knowledge, tools and technologies to make communities and infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme events.

The following UB professors are available to speak with media:

• Andre Filiatrault, PhD, Eng., professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering at UB. Filiatrault, a leading expert on shake-table testing of structural and nonstructural building components, is director of UB's MCEER and an expert

on the vulnerability of wood-frame construction and electric power substations to damage wrought by extreme events. He can also discuss the topic of overall damage and wave attenuation from a magnitude 5.9 earthquake.

• Robert D. Jacobi, PhD, professor of geology. Jacobi has conducted research that found that contrary to the conventional wisdom, Western New York -- in fact, the entire state -- is crisscrossed by literally hundreds of faults, many of which are seismically active today. His research has shown that the likelihood of a significant seismic event occurring in Western New York is not as remote as many think.

• George C. Lee, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Lee is an expert in the behavior and design of metal structures, seismic design and retrofit of buildings and bridges, and structural response modification technologies. He also is the principal investigator on MCEER's Federal Highway Administration project.

• Adel Sadek, PhD, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering. Sadek is an expert on the application of information technology and advanced computing to transportation problems. He studies the use of such new technologies as collision avoidance systems, adaptive traffic control and dynamic route guidance to increase safety and efficiency.

• Andrew Whittaker, PhD, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering and director of UB's Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory. Whittaker is an expert in concrete construction, blast engineering and seismic protective systems. He teaches courses in structural engineering, steel design, blast engineering, reinforced concrete and structural dynamics and earthquake engineering.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum