Los Angeles Seismic Retrofit Earthquake Safety

Eighteen months after Los Angeles passed the nation’s most sweeping seismic retrofit law, more than 15% of the city’s earthquake-vulnerable wood apartment buildings have begun the process of retrofits.

More than 2,100 buildings have either been retrofitted or are in the process of being strengthened out of about 13,500 that have been identified, city officials said. And that’s six years before the first buildings must be retrofitted under the law.

“We know that this work will save lives,” Garcetti told a gathering of scientists and community leaders who gathered at the mayor’s residence to talk about seismic safety. “We are two years ahead of any other big city in America on the work that we’ve done.”

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Source: LA Times

Early Earthquake Warning System Grows

While the future of the West Coast’s earthquake early warning system is in peril from President Trump’s proposed budget cuts, the network is beginning to slowly gain traction in both small and big ways.

A scattering of buildings are now equipped with audible alarms that will give occupants an advance warning ranging from seconds to more than a minute before the shaking from a major earthquake begins.

There are even buildings wired to prevent people from being trapped in elevators after an earthquake. The system is set up to trigger elevators to stop at the nearest floor for occupants to escape as an announcement is simultaneously broadcast: “Earthquake! Earthquake! Earthquake! Drop, cover and hold on!”

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Source:  LA Times

Get Your Seismic Retrofit Before The Big One

Fear of earthquakes is part of life in California.

But people experience this anxiety in different ways. For some, the fear prompts them to take steps to protect themselves: strapping down heavy furniture, securing kitchen cabinets and retrofitting homes and apartments.

For others, the fear prompts denial — a willful ignorance of the dangers until the ground starts shaking.

Seismologist Lucy Jones has spent her career trying to understand public attitudes about earthquakes, with a focus on moving people past paralysis and denial.

Jones said the way experts like her used to talk about earthquakes wasn’t very effective. They tended to focus on the probability of a major earthquake striking in the next 30 years — the length of a typical home mortgage. They also took pains to say what they didn’t know, which she now believes allowed the public to tune out and hope for the best.

Now she is making a dramatically different point, emphasizing that a devastating earthquake will definitely happen, and that there is much the public can do to protect themselves.

Also, Jones said she learned to tell property owners they would have to pay for how their building fares in an earthquake — either as a retrofit or by picking up the pieces after the building collapses.

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Source: LA Times