About the Commission


History and Responsibilities

The Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission (SSC) was established in 1975, with the passage of the Seismic Safety Act to provide a coordinated framework for establishing consistent earthquake policies, advising the Governor, the Legislature, local governments, and the public, and tracking the state’s progress toward higher levels of seismic safety.  To support this broad mission, the SSC uses the expertise of its commissioners to review, evaluate, and translate scientific information and make recommendations to guide and influence earthquake safety policies.

The SSC works with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the private sector, on a variety of activities that support the state’s earthquake preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.  These activities include: (1) encourage and support research related to seismic safety; (2) recommend the addition, deletion, or changing of state agency guidelines or standards to reduce damage from earthquakes or increase seismic safety when new developments would promote earthquake hazard mitigation; (3) develop findings and recommendations on lessons learned that lead to reduced losses and rapid economic recovery, following a destructive earthquake; (4) conducting public hearings on seismic safety issues; (5) using existing knowledge and conducting studies, where necessary, to improve the performance of structures in California, (6) recommending earthquake safety programs and supporting cost-effective partnerships that help reduce earthquake risks and speed economic recovery.

Through the passage of AB 100 Chapter 20, Statutes of 2020 the SSC exists in Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). There are 15 commissioners who provide policy guidance, topical expertise, and perspectives from the private sector, academia, and local government.

View a timeline of selected seismic legislation: 100 Years of Seismic Safety [pdf]

External Assignments

  • California Earthquake Clearinghouse Managing Partner
  • Strong Motion Instrumentation Advisory Committee to California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP), California Geological Survey
  • California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services State Hazard Mitigation Planning
  • Department of General Services- State Historical Building Safety Board
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute- Public Policy Committee
  • Global Earthquake Model (GEM)- Governing Board
  • Independent Peer Review Panel on Diablo Canyon Nuclear Powerplant, Coordinated by CPUC
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC’s) Water System Improvement Program- Seismic Review
  • FEMA BCA Critical Infrastructure Working Group
  • ShakeAlert Technical Users Working Group Coordinating Committee
  • Structural Engineering Association of California- Resilience Committee and Seismology Committee
  • Electric Power Research Institute: Inner-Utility Working Group (IUWG)
  • California Building Officials Structural Code Committee (CALBO)