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Know Your Imminent Disasters: Shakeout Drill Coming, Buildings Debated

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Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the Bay Area's Loma Prieta 7.1 earthquake that killed more than 60 people, and an article in the San Francisco Chronicle points out that many homes in San Francisco remain at risk of collapsing. Some of the most dangerous buildings in earthquakes are concrete-frame buildings, while the article also reminds readers that many of LA's concrete structures collapsed in the '94 Northridge quake (damage pictured). But LA has taken many steps to force retrofitting of unstable residences and offices (one commenter on GreenerBuildings says, "Los Angeles has done a far better [albeit far from perfect] job with this stuff, and is a much larger, more difficult metropolitan area to govern.") Peter Yanev, who wrote Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country in 1974, one the seminal books about quake preparedness, is quoted in The Chronicle, saying California, and the Bay Area, specifically, has done a "miserable" job retrofitting homes (good going, Gavin Newsom). Coincidentally, Yanev has a new edition of Peace of Mind out, and according to a press release, one of his major new points is that building codes are intended to protect people, not homes--even if a home or condo building doesn't collapse in an earthquake, many will be damaged beyond repair. Oh, and the big Shakeout earthquake drill happens Thursday.
· Bay Area Cities Lag in Making Housing Safe [Chronicle]
· ShakeOut [Official Site]