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Promote Safety during the Great American ShakeOut

Promote Safety during the Great American ShakeOut

There are many places around the world that are prone to seismic activity.  Thanks to the San Andreas Fault and many other smaller faults, much of California experiences some sort of underground movement on a regular basis.  Many California residents have heard about or participated at least once in the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill that emergency management organizations strongly suggest.

Since most earthquakes are not very strong, business and commercial property owners often think that their buildings are strong enough to withstand the violent forces that will come with a powerful temblor.   The reality, however, is that most people have never felt the kind of violent shaking that occurs with a really “Big One”.  The earth will suddenly jolt and then begin to move back and forth at a rate of several feet per second.  When those forceful motions begin, the ground or floor will lurch sideways, making it very difficult to walk or move.  Any object that has not previously been secured will either fly through the air or fall to the ground. In fact, many earthquake injuries are caused by moving objects.

Business and commercial property owners should be prepared to ensure the safety of their employees, tenants and customers.  Having an emergency preparedness plan in effect now is critical.  Employees and tenants should be aware of the safety steps they can take to protect themselves from serious injury.  Emergency management experts recommend that business and commercial property owners schedule an annual earthquake safety drill to remind everyone of the actions they should take when they feel that first jolt.

The Great American ShakeOut, an annual event held around the country, is scheduled for October 15, 2015, at 10:15 AM.  ShakeOut Day provides a great opportunity to ensure everyone is prepared to survive and recover swiftly.  Across the country, families, schools, businesses and communities are planning or organizing “Drop, Cover and Hold On” practice drills to prepare everyone, young and old, to be as safe as possible when the ground starts rocking and rolling.  It only takes a couple of minutes to practice the drill!

If you are planning a corporate, factory or office practice drill, encourage tenants and employees to look around their space to identify the closest safe place before the actual drill begins.  Safe places could be under a desk or table or next to an interior wall; identifying where to move ahead of time will help everyone respond quickly when the first jolt occurs.  Be sure to remind everyone that the space they choose should be very close by (within a couple of steps) in order to quickly get out of the way of flying objects.  Speedy action to move to a safe space provides the best protection from injury and it could save lives.

Many business and property owners who choose to participate review and update their emergency preparedness plans before the annual Great American ShakeOut event in October.  Before starting the actual drill, the current plans can be reviewed and discussed with tenants and employees so they know what is expected when a major quake occurs.  ShakeOut Day is also a great time to make sure that necessary emergency and recovery supplies are updated and located together in safe and convenient places throughout the building.  Commercial property owners and the management team should work with employees and tenants to ensure objects throughout the building are properly secured to avoid any unnecessary injury or damage.

Keeping in mind the potential for a powerful temblor to occur at any time near the many faults located in California, commercial property owners must also consider the strength and safety of their building.  If your property was built more than 30 years ago, maintenance and seismic retrofitting will most likely be necessary.  Older properties were built before the current building safety codes were put in place, therefore a professional building inspection should be scheduled.

If you own a commercial property or you are a property manager of any building, consider participating in this year’s ShakeOut drills on October 15th.  More information is available on the ShakeOut website.  In addition, now is the time to ensure that your building is structurally strong enough to withstand the violent forces of a mega-quake.  If you have questions about the strength and safety of your property, call the experts at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit.  Their experienced team can provide a thorough assessment of the building to determine any structural weaknesses and maintenance necessary to strengthen your property.  Call today to talk with a seismic retrofitting professional at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit about protecting your property, equipment, and most importantly, those who live or work in your building.

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(949) 646-0034

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