Lessons Learned After Las Animas Earthquake

August 22, 2011, saw Las Animas County in Colorado hit by a 5.3-magnitude earthquake. The quake caused an estimated $300,000 in damages to surrounding businesses and homes. The quake and subsequent damage to property, many of them older, unreinforced, adobe brick structures, were a cause for consternation as several of these buildings had property additions onto without the proper permits, resulting in construction codes not being followed, according to an article by www.coemergency.com.

Following the earthquake, Las Animas County officials faced the daunting task of identifying which properties suffered damage and were in need of county aid. And while many residents called the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office directly, others chose not to involve the local government, fearing repercussions for not following local building code.

Working Toward the Future and Beyond

Countless hours were spent and many miles travelled in an attempt to evaluate properties to determine who in the community needed aid from the local government. Working together with other agencies throughout the county and state, Las Animas County officials were able to more fully facilitate a recovery in the area.

With that sense of community and coordination, a new emergency management group was established that included members from many of the same groups who helped in the earthquake recovery efforts. The team has already been put to the test following recent blizzards that struck the area in December 2011.

Also established in the aftermath of the earthquake was a Recovery Center where residents could receive information on the resources available to help them rebuild. Through the auspices of the Recovery Center, local government was able to offer lower interest loans, safety tips, and advice on how to rebuild to prevent damage in future earthquakes.

For more information about lessons learned following the Las Animas earthquake, visit: http://www.coemergency.com/2012/02/lessons-learned-in-recovery-las-animas.html