Unlike hurricanes and some other environmental threats, earthquakes strike suddenly and without warning. Nevertheless, if your school districts are in an earthquake prone region, there are measures you can take to reduce the chance of injury, property damage, and disruption at your school. These activities require preparation-- to be effective, they must be done before earthquakes occur.
Make Sure your Building is Up to Seismic Code
Make your school buildings safer to be in during earthquakes and more resistant to earthquake damage and disruption. Depending on when and how they were engineered, built, and furnished, existing school buildings may have weaknesses that make them more vulnerable to earthquakes.
Secure Non-Structural Items
Any nonstructural items that are not effectively anchored, braced, reinforced, or otherwise secured could become safety hazards and property losses in an earthquake.
Pipes Must be Earthquake-Proof
Did you know natural gas contributes to 25% of fires after an earthquake? Unattended gas leaks can not only compromise school safety, but also put faculty and students at risk. Whenever there’s a leak, there’s a danger of fire (or even explosion) from the tiniest of ignition sources. Gas must be shut off to prevent a catastrophic explosion or fire. Gas can be shut off manually, but these valves can be difficult to access in the event of a sudden earthquake and usually can’t be reached in time by your faculty. If your school is located near natural gas pipelines, make sure to hire a professional to install seismic shut-off valves in order to prevent a gas explosion caused by an earthquake.
All students and school personnel should learn what to do in the event of an earthquake. Earthquake safety training for staff and students should emphasize safe places to "drop, cover, and hold on" and safe locations to rendezvous when it is safe to evacuate. Periodic earthquake drills should be held to give students and staff opportunities to practice what they have learned and condition themselves to react spontaneously and safely when the first jolt or shaking is felt. Earthquakes should be thoroughly integrated into the school's emergency preparedness, response, and recovery planning.
Schools have the capacity to inform, empower and motivate the citizens of tomorrow; they have the unique opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of earthquake hazards and reduce the risks that these threats pose to the community. MBS Engineering is proud to serve the California school community. Need a seismic shut off valve installed at your school? We're here to help - give us a call at (925) 406-3546 or visit our website for more information.