Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are we ready for the big one?

On the next Your Call, we'll have a conversation about earthquake preparedness. US Geological Survey forecasts that there is a 63% chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. Are we ready? Join us live at 10 or send us an email at What do we need to do in case of a big earthquake? And what can we learn from the devastating earthquake in Japan? It's Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

Abolhassan Astaneh, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley.

Danielle Hutchings, Earthquake and Hazards Program Coordinator Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

Corey Johnson, an investigative reporter focusing on K-12 education for California Watch. He just published a three-part series looking into whether California schools meet seismic safety standards.

Click to Listen: Are we ready for the big one?

1 comment:

Hal Levin said...

The professor is telling us what to do to prepare for "after the earthquake" -- before the earthquake, we can make sure that our houses are structurally ready for an earthquake.

1. Location -- Most of the damage after Loma Prieta occurred far from the epicenter on soft, unconsolidated soils. Find out where your house is relative to the major faults, to flood plains, to land areas created by fill (like most of the the area adjacent to the SF Bay) and to "liquefaction zones." These areas are where ground movement will be highest: the Cypress Freeway structure in Oakland that collapsed and caused the greatest damage and a large fraction of the deaths -- was on Bay fill, that resulted in far greater ground movement, downtown Santa Cruz is in a flood plain, and many of the older wood-frame and brick buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Look at the seismic safety plan for your county to find out where your property is located in relationship to these areas....

2. Make sure the house is properly tied to the foundation.

3. Make sure the foundation is sound -- old brick foundations are susceptible to damage.

4. Make sure the chimney is properly braced -- tied to the house and the portion above the roof is braced.

5. If any large portions of wall on lower floors are primarily glass or otherwise, not solid wall, have a structural engineer evaluate the potential for installing a small number of angle braces in corners, which could be invisible, that will significantly improve the performance of the house.

6. Tie down or brace water heaters, especially gas water heaters.

I am on hold to comment

- hal

Hal Levin
Building Ecology Research Group
2548 Empire Grade Santa Cruz CA 95060 USA
tel: +1 831.425.3946 fax: +1 831.426.6522