Yes, LA Buildings Could Collapse Like Those In Turkey When The Big One Hits. What You Should Know
Videos seem to show that many of the buildings that collapsed in Turkey are likely older, low- and mid-rise concrete structures that lacked sufficient reinforcement ... characteristics shared by many buildings in California.
There Are At-Risk Buildings Here
Turkey's building codes are on par with California's, said Monica Kohler, a research professor of civil engineering at Caltech. Problems arise when buildings aren't constructed properly or when older structures built to outdated codes haven't been retrofitted, leaving them vulnerable.
"I think that what we have to be really careful about is to think: 'You know, no wonder it happened to them. It's never gonna happen to us.' It could happen to us for some of the same reasons," said Kohler.
How To Check If Your Building Is Vulnerable
“The buildings that collapsed (in Turkey) are most likely those that were built prior to 1980s, and some that weren’t built to code requirements,” said Ertugrul Taciroglu, chair of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA.
It's impossible to tell for certain without an assessment by an expert, but if you're in an older building that was constructed prior to the 1994 Northridge quake, it's worth finding out if retrofits are necessary. Older single-family homes often need to be braced and bolted. Unreinforced masonry buildings, non-ductile concrete, and soft-story structures have all shown vulnerability during earthquakes. The city of L.A. does have a searchable database of non-ductile concrete and soft-story buildings.
The Bottom Line
Just because your building survived prior earthquakes doesn't mean it'll make it through the next one if it's not been properly reinforced. An exceptionally strong earthquake could hit here too and expose vulnerabilities to our infrastructure.
Get Ready For the Next Big Earthquake
We don't want to scare you, but the Big One is coming. We don't know when, but we know it'll be at least 44 times stronger than Northridge and 11 times stronger than the Ridgecrest quakes in 2019. To help you get prepared, we've compiled a handy reading list
- Your Guide To Surviving The Big One
- For Earthquakes, Forget The 'Go-Bag.' Here's How To Prepare
- How To Not Get Life-Threatening Diarrhea After A Major Earthquake
- 10 Earthquake-Related Questions To Ask Your Landlord Immediately
- How To Prepare For An Earthquake If You Have A Disability
- Listen to our Podcast The Big One: Your Survival Guide
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