Research Scientist: Tsunami Group
Nick Arcos spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In late October 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated much of the country. His strong links to Honduras prompted Nick to participate in relief efforts with the Fundación Maria while working on his undergraduate degree in anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. This tragic event raised his awareness of a natural disaster's effect, specifically to the lack of planning, warning, and community preparedness.
Nick's master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington (UW) enabled him to acquire effective community planning skills aimed at protecting lives and property. He had numerous practical experiences such as working on planning documents for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and the Honduran national emergency management agency, COPECO.
Following the 2004 Indonesian (Sumatra) earthquake and tsunami, Nick joined JISAO as a graduate researcher to assist in the development and implementation of the Tsunami Science and Preparedness certificate program at UW. The program trained more than 30 scientists, emergency managers, and planners from Indian Ocean countries affected by the 2004 tsunami.
In 2007, Nick joined JISAO full-time to work for the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research to focus on the development of tsunami educational and training products. He continued to refine the Tsunami Science and Preparedness program, assisting in its transfer to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand.
Currently, Nick works with the Washington State Emergency Management Division on the tsunami Train-the-Trainer program. The program delivers training to community leaders so they can educate their communities to identify strengths and weaknesses in tsunami preparedness. The program is not simply about dispensing information; instead, it engages communities to ensure their specific educational and training needs are met. The program constantly evolves in response to community needs.
Nick recently co-developed the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center's Tsunami Awareness course in collaboration with the International Tsunami Information Center and SeismicReady Consulting. They produced the course to target coastal communities potentially impacted by tsunamis. It is the only national-level tsunami course, and is certified by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Developing tsunami-resilient communities is an ongoing challenge for planners and emergency managers. Nick continues to refine his expertise based on what he learns from communities and experts, and he's continually evaluating how personal experiences can be translated into useful educational components.
In Nick's free time he plays and watches soccer, although he tries to avoid thinking about soccer too much as the Honduran National Team has surely taken a few years off of his life. Nick also loves to scuba dive but the water in the Pacific Northwest is too cold. Mainly, he just likes to spend time with his soon-to-be wife...and his dog.
Middle photo: Dr. Kruawan Jankaew explaining paleo-tsunami soil deposits in Thailand.