Earthquake Shakes up CA on Northridge Anniversary

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If the Northridge were to recur today, estimated insured losses would total near $24 billion.

While many in California reflect on the anniversary of the Northridge Quake, others were alarmed to be woken by a M2.6 – 4km W of Universal City, California at 13:26:59 UTC.

1172014A 6.7-magnitude temblor waylaid Los Angeles on January 17, 1994. Called the Northridge Earthquake, it now stands as the second costliest disaster in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina, according to AccuWeather. Northridge cost $42 billion in total damages, while Katrina cost $81 billion, said, citing federal figures.

The quake killed 57 people, injured thousands more, damaged 112,000 structures and left more than $20 billion in property losses. More than 20,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Twitter, unavailable in 1994 when the devastating Northridge Earthquake occurred is is commemorating the event by “live Tweeting” the news as it happened then via @realtime94Quake.

Two decades after the magnitude-6.7 earthquake, buildings around the region remain vulnerable. While there has been progress to rebuild and shore up freeways and hospitals, there has been less attention paid to concrete buildings and housing with ground-floor parking.

“While government agencies will provide logistic support regionally after a disaster, it should be the responsibility of enlightened business owners and managers to equip their staff to be self-reliant and their own “first responders,” said Ken O’Dell, S.E., LEED AP, Partner with MHP Structural Engineers in Long Beach, California, Firestorm Business Partner, and member of the Board of Directors of SEAOSC, the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California

Ken is a champion of greater due diligence in this regard. As detailed on the MHP website:

“The inventory of existing buildings in geographical areas subject to potentially strong earthquake ground motion is enormous. The Seismic Risk division at MHP assesses the vulnerability of these buildings and assists clients in making informed decisions concerning valuable building assets. These due-diligence evaluations provide earthquake loss or Probable Maximum Loss (PML) estimates and, when appropriate, suggest strengthening options, allowing the consideration of seismic risk of commercial assets in real estate transactions.”

“Firestorm and MHP, Inc. Structural Engineers continue to support our clients throughout the United States with preparedness planning and disaster response by participating in post-earthquake reconnaissance when appropriate, maintaining an extensive portfolio of seismic and risk assessment and mitigation experience, and developing continuity plans with clients to ensure better response before, during, and after a disruption or disaster.”

As an on-going outreach to their clients, MHP provides Lunch and Learns on various topics, including Seismic Risk, Business Continuity, Structural Engineering Basics for Architects and more. Contact MHP to discuss Lunch and Learn opportunities for your team.

Learn to be “your own first responder.” Download Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America for free!


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