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Is Your Commercial Property Ready for the “BIG ONE”?

Is Your Commercial Property Ready for the “BIG ONE”?

Earthquake mitigation is about taking action to reduce potential injury to tenants and damages or losses to your building, building contents, and business operations should the “BIG ONE” occur.  Preparing a basic earthquake disaster preparedness plan in advance, along with ensuring that tenants and employees know and understand how and when to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, will certainly help to reduce earthquake risks and minimize disruptions, damages, and losses.

If you are a commercial building owner, property manager or business owner, there are several questions you should ask.  If the answers or plans are not readily available and understood, it is time to create or update an earthquake preparedness action plan.

  • Have you identified your risk?

The first step is to determine if your commercial property or business is at risk for earthquakes.  Is your building located along or near a fault zone?  There are more than 300 faults located in California, therefore there is a good chance that your property will be vulnerable when the earth starts rocking and shaking – especially if you live near the San Andreas fault.   As you determine your vulnerabilities, be sure to consider not just the location, but also the strength of your structure, the non-structural components of the building and the business, as well as employee and tenant safety.

  • Do you have an earthquake action plan in place?

After you identify your earthquake risks, developing an “earthquake preparedness action plan” should be the next step; determining issues now gives you time to start planning projects to address those risks.  Making a mitigation project plan means defining a scope of work, budgeting funds to pay for it, and then scheduling the time to get it done.  The scope of your plans will depend on your specific earthquake risks and, of course, the actual funding available; sometimes, due to budgeting or scheduling issues, you may need to reduce or increase the scope of the necessary maintenance and earthquake readiness projects.

  • When should you take action?

Once your earthquake action plan has been outlined, be sure to implement your project plan and solutions as soon as possible.  Nonstructural solutions might include taking the simple step of anchoring file cabinets and bookshelves to the wall, as well as adding removable straps to secure the contents, and adding a safety latch to prevent the cabinets from opening as the earth moves.  Other solutions may include securing ceiling fans with cable supports, installing flexible gas lines to space heaters or propane tanks, and securing desktop computers and other office equipment.  Structural solutions could involve going through a seismic retrofit.  A seismic retrofit for your commercial property might include several steps, such as strengthening un-reinforced masonry, installing shear walls, and strengthening the structural frame of your building by creating a continuous load path.

Don’t wait!  Now is the time to take action!

Without taking these actions, an earthquake may shut down your building’s operations, resulting in lost revenue or even worse, the closing of your tenant’s business or even your own business.   Mitigating your earthquake risk will help to ensure getting back to business and resuming operations faster after an earthquake.

Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit specializes in the repair, retrofitting, and reconstruction of occupied buildings in the Los Angeles area. If you need to develop an “earthquake preparedness action plan” for your commercial property, or if you would like more information on how to get an inspection and estimate for seismic retrofitting, call Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today!


Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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