Our hearts go out to those affected by the two earthquakes that caused severe damage in Central Italy and Myanmar. The earthquakes claimed many lives and caused massive damage to buildings and infrastructure. It will take years for the affected communities to fully recover.
When we see natural disasters in the news, we pause and send our thoughts to those affected. We may contribute support to the individuals and organizations that are on their way to help. But for most of us, these events seem very far from home, and we don’t seriously consider how to prepare our own families and communities for an earthquake of this scale.
Experts say that we are overdue for an earthquake as strong as magnitude 9.0 that will leave the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia to the tip of California in turmoil. In fact, according to earthquaketrack.com there have been 10 earthquakes in the Portland area in the last 3 months.
OPB has a program called Aftershock on its website that is designed to give Portland-area residents an idea of potential damage and how long it will take to get services such as water and electricity back on line, as well as ideas on how to be prepared.
On oregonlive.com, The Oregonian offers an interactive map of Portland-area buildings, including information about likely seismic readiness. And the City of Portland has released a database and interactive map identifying area buildings that may pose a risk to occupants in the event of an earthquake.
One key consideration for Northwest homeowners is to ensure that your home is adequately secured to its foundation. Homes built before 1970, and many built as recently as the early 1990s, are likely to sustain serious damage during a strong quake without seismic updates, and do not qualify for earthquake insurance coverage for this reason. Securing your home to its foundation will provide the occupants more time to safely exit the building during an earthquake event, and will help limit structural damage.
Neil Kelly Company has been providing seismic assessment and retrofit services to our clients for years. We offer a complimentary seismic review of your home, and make improvements such as securing your home to its foundation, installing an automatic gas shutoff valve, and strapping the water heater to prevent the tank from falling over and causing harm.
You can sign up for a complimentary seismic assessment here. And if you have Neil Kelly perform any seismic improvements to your home before October 31, 2016, we’ll include an American Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Starter Kit for you and your family.