Saturday, March 31, 2012

[Geology2] Preparing for an Earthquake From the Ground Up

Major earthquakes have rattled North America, and in turn homeowners into bolting their homes in case the Big One strikes the Southland

By Stephanie Elam and Daisy Lin | KNBC-TV Los Angeles
|  Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012  |  Updated 6:01 AM PDT
Poor earthquake preparedness is often only evident after an earthquake occurs. By then, it's too late.

But there are things that can be done early, like bolting down the home. Bolting a house will ensure it doesn't shift off the foundation the next time the earth shakes, Ken Compton, project manager for Seismic Safety, said, adding that his company has been busy this spring.

"To protect the structure and to protect the occupants in the event of an earthquake, that's the main reason why it's done for residential structures," he said.

Newer homes should already be bolted since building codes have required it since about 1940. Almost all the work is done along the inside perimeter of the house.

"The energy gets trapped into the structure in the event of an earthquake and then, through our sheer panels along the perimeters and our anchor bolting, a transfer path is created to channel that energy back down into the foundation system and back down into the soil so it keeps the structure from shifting in the event of an earthquake," Compton said.

Simplified, the process is three steps. First, transfer the load between the joist to the panel. Then, from the panel to the foundation. And finally, from the anchor bolts down into the concrete.

Bolting down a home will cost about $3500 and any house can be bolted as long as the foundation is serviceable -- even if there's just a crawl space under the structure.


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