Golden State Braced for Quake

Twenty years after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, the city is not as quake-proof as it would like to be.

In an article on the Bloomberg website, Jeran Wittenstein and Ryan Flinn cite a draft of San Francisco’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety released earlier this year. It says thousands of buildings in the city are still not properly fortified and infrastructure is vulnerable. San Francisco is still about four years away from reinforcing the miles of aerial track, for example, that carry hundreds of thousands of rapid transit commuters.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of emergency Management told the Bloomberg reporters the October 17 anniversary of Loma Prieta, and recent natural disasters in other countries, are raising concern about another earthquake in the vicinity of San Francisco. The Bay Area sits over the San Andreas and Hayward fault lines. The Hayward is close to densely populated areas and hasn’t had a major quake in more than 140 years, University of California research geophysicist Peggy Hellweg said in the article.

According to the draft report, 4,400 buildings in the city are “soft-story structures,” typically wood-framed with no partitioning walls. These buildings are more than 35 years old and may not be able to support the heavier floors above in the event of a strong quake.

The entire state is increasingly buying-in to the importance of preparedness. On October 15, 2009 at 10:15 a.m., more than 6.9 million Californians participated in “Shakeout,” the largest earthquake drill ever. Agencies, organizations, cities, counties, and others planned their own activities to coincide with the statewide public drill, which will be held across California on the third Thursday of October each year.

Click here to read the Bloomberg article

…or here for California’s earthquake drill: