Earthquake Preparedness and Response

Earthquakes strike quickly, without any warning and are uncontrollable disasters, making the main cause of injuries, deaths, and the destruction of physical infrastructures. Worldwide evidence reveals that there are upward trends in the number of individuals who are affected by earthquakes. Preparedness is defined as the activities and measures taken in advance to ensure effective response to the destructive impacts of disasters. Earthquake preparedness is considered a significant way to reduce the risk of quakes.

The preparedness actions may include collecting survival items, planning what households do at the time of earthquakes, and mitigation activities. In terms of preparedness, strategies may be administered at either the community or individual level.

Different Types of Seismic Retrofit Projects

  • Concrete Tilt-Up & Reinforced Masonry (CMU)
  • Un-reinforced Masonry (URM)
  • Concrete Buildings 2 or More Stories
  • Soft Stories or Tuck Under Apartments

Basic Concepts: How a Seismic Retrofit Works

To keep a house from falling off its foundation in an earthquake, seismic retrofit strengthens three different areas of the house. These areas are all located in the basement and/or crawl space. If any one of these three areas is not adequately retrofitted, the house will be susceptible to damage in an earthquake.

These three areas are:

Bracing the cripple walls with plywood.
Bolting the braced cripple walls to the foundation.
Attaching the floor of the house to the braced cripple walls.

There are a number of companies in the Los Angeles area, but which one is right for you? Here are four steps you should follow to help you answer that question.

1. Come Up With a Short List

It can be tempting to perform a Google search and commit to working with the first result on the page, but more research is necessary to find earthquake retrofitting contractors who meet your commercial building needs. Make a list, but keep it short, of the companies that interest you the most. Keeping your list small will help to find the best company for your building, too many options often becomes overwhelming.

2. Ask about Experience

While there are not formal credentials in seismic retrofitting, your earthquake retrofitting contractors should have extensive experience and training, with deep knowledge of the process, materials, and local regulations involved in a commercial retrofit.

3. Get Some Recommendations or Find Reviews

The best way to find out how good a company is, is by asking your friends or colleagues. Talking to other commercial building owners about which contractors they worked with and what their experience was like can be an excellent way to identify the best option for your needs. Be sure to find out what other customer’s experience was like or what they thought of the work that was done.

4. Think ROI, Not Price Tag

This type of construction project is expensive, there is no getting around that. But, don’t dwell on the initial out-of-pocket costs, think of the retrofit as in investment in your future. While it may be tempting to hire the company with the cheapest bid, that doesn’t always mean they will do the best job. The whole idea behind the earthquake retrofit is to ensure your building will remain standing during the next, or future, earthquakes, without costing you a fortune in repairs, or even in lawsuits from one of your tenants or employees being injured or killed. During your initial phone calls be sure to find out everything that is included in the quote.

To get started today or for more information, contact us today to schedule a FREE on-site inspection by our team of soft story experts or call us now at (818)287-8002.