Does Your Commercial Property Have an Earthquake Preparedness Plan?

It’s a sad but true fact: most businesses and property owners simply are not prepared for a natural disaster. According to a study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, only 60% of small businesses reopen after a natural disaster. Of that 60%, roughly 1/4 of them close down again after a year. In western states such as California, Oregon, and Washington, earthquakes are a constant risk to commercial properties. Do you have a plan in place to minimize damage and protect lives?

Here are a few tips to help you mitigate risk and protect your property:

Life Safety

The primary function of an earthquake preparedness plan is to protect lives. Although earthquakes are unpredictable, there are measures you can take to respond quickly and prioritize safety.

  • Decide how to report emergencies: Although earthquakes are not localized events, safety concerns arising from earthquake damage can be. Decide how to report emergencies in order to convey important information quickly and coordinate the efforts of first responders.
  • Evacuation procedures: An evacuation plan identifying the nearest exits and exiting procedure should be identified and communicated to all employees and/or residents.
  • Account for employees: One of the most common challenges after a disaster such as an earthquake is missing persons. Identify individuals in charge of sweep checks or roll calls so that you can determine where employees are at any time.
  • Shut downs:¬†Certain systems and machines within your building may need to be shut down in order to preserve safety after an earthquake.

Building Preparedness

The most important thing that you can do in order to protect lives and property in the case of an earthquake is preparing your building ahead of time. Earthquake resistant buildings are designed and bolstered to better endure an earthquake. Not only does earthquake retrofitting help prevent collapse and tilting, but it can also minimize damage that occurs even as a result of smaller-scale seismic activity.

California safety codes require a certain level of earthquake retrofit and safety compliance in new buildings. However, even if your building is compliant with state and local ordinances, there may be more that you can do to ensure better earthquake safety. The new building codes only address life Safety risk, not Structural integrity caused by an earthquake. A structural engineer can help you identify risks to your building and make a plan for possible improvements.

These companies will be able to provide services to all sorts of buildings such as:

  • Concrete tilt ups
  • Soft story
  • Non-ductile concrete buildings
  • Parking structures
  • Retail buildings
  • Multi-family apartments
  • Tuck-under parking
  • URM buildings
  • Historical buildings
  • Commercial real estate buildings

If you are considering a retrofit or want to know more about how to make your building safer in case of an earthquake, contact Saunders Seismic for more information