Earthquakes are inevitable, but the damage from earthquakes is not. Many people think the destruction caused by earthquakes is unavoidable, and that our only option is to pick up the pieces after the shaking stops. Actually, almost all earthquake damages and losses can be reduced by steps you take before, during, and after.
In April 2011, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services announced its new Residential Seismic Strengthening Program directed towards one and two family residential buildings. The goal of the program is to provide homeowners and contractors a user-friendly guide to evaluating existing homes and determine if certain improvements would be beneficial in order to reduce the risk of earthquake damage.
In a press release, the Bureau of Development Services Director Paul Scarlett stated, “Providing homeowners streamlined and simple programs to improve the safety of their home is something that we strive to do. This program is a great way to do just that, especially in light of the recent earthquakes happening around the world.”
Portland Fire & Rescue’s Assistant Fire Marshal Nate Takara applauds and supports this new program.
“By strengthening your home for a natural disaster, you not only enhance you and your family’s safety, but you also improve the overall safety and aid for emergency responders,” Assistant Fire Marshal Nate Takara recently stated. “Seismic resistive construction is an important piece of the public safety puzzle.”
A Residential Seismic Strengthening Program webpage has been developed and can be assessed by clicking here. The Residential Seismic Strengthening Brochure provides information on:
- Why many older homes lack foundation anchors.
- What to look for when evaluating a home’s need for seismic strengthening.
- How to obtain a permit to perform seismic strengthening and why permitting is important.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the work.
- Limitations that apply to the Residential Seismic Strengthening Program.
EARTHQUAKE NOTIFICATION SERVICE
The Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) is a free service provided by the U.S. Geological Survey that sends you automated notification emails when earthquakes happen in your area. Learn more and sign up at https://sslearthquake.usgs.gov/ens/.
For more information on how to prepare for earthquakes or other disasters, please visit the Portland Office of Emergency Management website at http://www.portlandonline.com/oem.
For more information about the Bureau of Development Services and the program and services it provides to the City of Portland, please visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds.