Experts To Discuss Ways Business Owners Can Prevent Serious Earthquake Damage
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Reducing costly damage to small businesses from earthquakes will be discussed by a panel of experts on the next Resilience Advantage webinar from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 24.
California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis will appear as a special guest on the program. Also scheduled to appear on the Resilience Advantage webinar panel are Evan Reis, Executive Director of the U.S. Resiliency Council, Ben Raju of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Ines Pearce, President of DRB Toolkit.
This webinar is a continuation of an educational programming series conducted over the past five years by the U.S. Resiliency Council in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Optimum Seismic, Inc. The U.S. Small Business Administration recently partnered with USRC to support this educational programming as a co-sponsor. Optimum Seismic, Inc. will continue to serve as program sponsor.
During the announcement of a new partnership between SBA and the USRC, Reis commented on the important work ahead to enhance business resilience. "Earlier this year the Biden/ Harris administration announced its initiative to modernize building codes and improve climate resilience. The SBA will play an important role in this initiative, and we look forward to providing support to the SBA in any way we can."
Reis noted that the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Business Federation have been "strong partners and supporters for years with the USRC's Resilience Advantage series and in helping to advance key legislation which will help so many of their small business members."
Reis offered special thanks to Ali Sahabi of Optimum Seismic for his "support of all of the USRC's efforts that have been invaluable to making today happen. Ali's commitment to the resilience profession and the community at large have been remarkable."
Panel members will discuss steps small businesses can take to reduce the many serious threats they face from earthquakes. Five types of buildings vulnerable to earthquake damage will be reviewed along with their specific areas of weakness. Each of the five building types – tilt-up, non-ductile concrete, steel moment frame, soft-story and unreinforced masonry -- can collapse in earthquakes. Damage can result in serious losses which include: the building; contents such as equipment, inventory and supplies; owner's liability costs for negligence in maintaining an unsafe condition; as well as death and injuries to employees and customers. In serious situations, bankruptcy can easily result. Also to be discussed is the need to update business plans before earthquakes and other disasters strike to provide for well-coordinated response to and recovery from disaster situations. Other points to be covered include:
- Building codes are intended to protect life safety and not necessarily prevent damage to preserve business continuity
- The process for identifying, quantifying and mitigating seismic risk
- Mitigation options for seismically vulnerable buildings
- Role of building performance ratings in reducing risk
The rural northern coast of California recently experienced two earthquakes of 6.4 and 5.4 magnitude with 200 plus aftershocks. As of January 12, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) had assessed 1,942 structures in the Humboldt County area. Of these structures, 257 have been "yellow tagged" requiring repairs and over 90 have been "red tagged" or deemed unsafe to enter, resulting in the displacement of approximately 180 residents. Some homes were knocked off their foundations and many lost chimneys. The quakes caused power outages, ruptured gas lines, loss of internet service. Local officials said many people with damaged homes or business properties lacked quake insurance.
These moderately sized quakes were just a few of the more than 7,750 quakes that strike California annually. If these quakes of this size had been located in a heavily urban area, the damage could have been much more extensive. The Northridge earthquake 29 years ago caused the deaths of 57 people -- 16 in one apartment building. Another 9,000 were injured and thousands were displaced from their homes. The earthquake inflicted some $93-billion in damage – the most costly quake in U.S. history.
In addition, devastating wildfire seasons in recent years have been made worse by record droughts followed by flooding. Other events, such as the tragic collapse of a 11-story condo building in Florida, have also underscored the need for greater business resilience.
Against this backdrop, business leaders, architects, structural engineers, community planners, property owners and government officials urgently need to work together to make buildings, businesses and communities more resilient to earthquakes and other disasters. Improving building resilience takes public education and policies that balance safety, protecting the economy, and the cost of improvements. The panel of experts will discuss approaches to do so.
These webinars are designed to enable business owners to make better plans and informed decisions about how to protect their businesses, buildings and employees, how to quickly recover from damage in order to minimize business interruption, and how much improved resilience may cost initially and ultimately save.
"Advances in our understanding of seismic issues can make businesses and buildings better able to withstand and recover from what can be devastating impacts during major earthquakes," says Evan Reis, executive director of the non-profit U.S. Resiliency Council. "Earthquakes can have devastating impacts on vulnerable buildings, people and our economy, but they don't have to be disasters. Investing in resilience is good economics and sound business. This webinar will show how actions by businesses can help them become more resilient now and in the future."
The panel will also examine specific ways make buildings safer and more resilient. The result of these actions can provide numerous benefits: prevent death, injuries and property losses, preserve jobs and workforce housing, and protect vital services and local economies. Examples will be shared of how resilience planning can lead to concrete actions that assist buildings and communities withstand shocks, avoid serious damage and recover more quickly from California's greatest natural hazard – earthquakes.
To register for the program visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-reduce-earthquake-risk-tickets-518067502847?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_content=follow_notification&utm_campaign=following_published_event&utm_term=How+to+Reduce+Earthquake+Risk&aff=ebemoffollowpublishemail.
Created in 2011, USRC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) with a mission to educate, advocate and promote better tools for assessing, designing and communicating the performance of buildings during earthquakes and other natural and man-made disasters. To learn more, visit www.usrc.org.
The Optimum Seismic team has been making California cities safer since 1984 by providing full-service earthquake engineering, steel fabrication and construction services for multifamily residential, commercial and industrial buildings. With more than 3,500 earthquake retrofit and renovation projects completed, Optimum Seismic's work includes soft-story multifamily apartments, unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and tilt-up, non-ductile concrete and steel moment frame buildings. To arrange a complimentary assessment of your building's earthquake resilience, contact Optimum Seismic at (833) 978-7664 or visit optimumseismic.com.
Contact: Tom Robinson 562 237-1629
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SOURCE USRC; Optimum Seismic, Inc.