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The Great American ShakeOut 2015

The Great American ShakeOut 2015

ShakeOut 2015 is coming up on October 15th at 10:15am.  This is an annual event that is scheduled across the country to practice earthquake preparedness and safety.  Practice drills can be held anywhere – at work, at schools, at home.  It doesn’t matter where you are at that moment.  California is considered to be “earthquake country”, so everyone should participate.  At 10:15 on that morning, no matter where you are, you and your co-workers, family or students should act as if the earth is shaking and “Drop, Cover and Hold On”.  This practice is an active reminder that earthquakes can happen at any time and anywhere.  It is the time to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event an earthquake impacts your location.

Earthquakes happen across the United States.  California residents and businesses are especially vulnerable due to the many faults located throughout the state.  When powerful earthquakes occur, many things can happen; damage and destruction are likely to occur, businesses may shutdown or experience a work stoppage, and sadly, there is the potential for fatalities.  Cities, towns and communities rely on businesses every day and need those businesses to stay open when disaster occurs.  Therefore, business owners need to make sure their workers (and their families) will be safe and well prepared before the next strong earthquake occurs.

If you are a commercial property or business owner, there are several important steps that you can take right now to protect your employees and your property when the earth starts to rock and roll.  It does not matter where your property is located in California or what kind of business you own; if you do not already have an earthquake preparedness plan or if you haven’t taken steps to minimize hazards, take the time now to make sure your everyone in the building will be as safe as possible.

Take the first step by walking through your business or building, floor-by-floor, area-by area, looking for potential hazards.  Identify any special equipment that may be difficult to replace or equipment that is essential to keep your business running after the earthquake.  Make sure it has been completely secured to avoid potential damage.  Computers and other office equipment should also be secured to ensure they don’t go flying through the air during the quake.  Other quick and easy steps that may be necessary include:

  • Keep space underneath desks cleared so that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” can easily be achieved when an earthquake starts.
  • Heavy items should be moved to lower shelves to avoid shelving units from tumbling over because they are top heavy.
  • Boxes should not be stacked close to exits. Employees or residents need a clear path to exit when it is safe to do so.
  • Storage and file cabinets should be locked when they are not being used.
  • Back-up all computer files on a regularly basis and store the back-ups to an off-site location.  “Auto back-up” stores the files only to the computer.  If the computer is damaged during the quake, important data could be lost.

It is critical to make sure all your employees or residents are trained and know what “Drop, Cover and Hold On” means; an annual drill, such as participating in the Great American ShakeOut, will help avoid panic and confusion when a strong earthquake occurs.  Be sure to go over your emergency preparedness plans and evacuation procedures with employees and tenants before the annual drill.

If you are a commercial property owner, it is important to make sure that your building is structurally sound to ensure the safety of the residents, employees, customers and equipment.  Thanks to updated building codes, buildings constructed within the last 30 years were most likely designed not to collapse during an earthquake.  Older buildings, however, may need additional maintenance or a complete seismic retrofit to strengthen the building.  Work with an experienced and licensed retrofitting company to get a complete building inspection with an estimate of costs for any strengthening options they suggest.

The time to prepare for an earthquake is NOW!  Don’t wait until after the disaster occurs, when you might be looking at total destruction and possible fatalities.  If your property is located in or close to Los Angeles, call the professionals at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit to schedule a consultation or inspection.  Register and participate in the ShakeOut 2015 drill in October and ensure the safety of your tenants, workers, equipment and property before the “BIG ONE” occurs!

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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