Earthquake Preparation Tips: Surviving the San Andreas Fault & Dangerous Quakes

san andreas fault

Southern California homeowners contend with their own unique set of real estate issues. With one of the largest threats facing a safe home being seismic activity, the San Andreas fault poses an exorbitant threat to greater California safety. Furthermore, Los Angeles was deemed one of the 10 largest cities in the world that has been rocked by damaging earthquakes. Today we’re going to review these large areas of earthquake concern and assist homeowners across California with fortifying their properties in the event of an earthquake striking. The bottom line is that California residents need to be prepared for the next big quake, and since it could strike at any time, it’s paramount to understand the issues at hand and devise a plan to combat seismic activity destruction.

Related: Earthquake Retrofitting 101: Secure Your Home

San Andreas fault safety concerns

The San Andreas fault stretches 800 miles across the Golden State, carrying a deadly legacy with it. With past earthquakes bringing mass fatalities, there is much concern over what will happen when the next big quake occurs.

All major cities surrounding the San Andreas fault could be endangered by a large earthquake on the fault, leading to likely catastrophic results.

earthquake retrofitting

In addition to the loss of many lives, there would be serious economic effects and mass real estate damage associated with an earthquake of large magnitude across the fault. Earthquakes can wreck cataclysmic damage to structures and largely impact the economy. That’s why local property owners have to do everything in their power to keep their structures secure, minimizing both financial and property loss and saving lives in the process.

San Andreas earthquake model 

Being earthquake ready involves more than one area of focus. While homeowners will have to team up with professional contractors to determine weaknesses in the home and secure them, understanding seismic activity in the area is beneficial to revealing a larger portrait of what needs to be done to fortify California properties. Thanks to efforts such as the ShakeOut Scenario, CyberShake, scientists are getting closer to determining when the next large regional earthquake might arrive. By creating estimates of ground shaking, scientists are working to map out plausible earthquake scenarios so that California homeowners and residents can be better prepared for combatting and preparing for deadly quakes. While efforts are still being made to most accurately pinpoint and predict seismic activity, one thing is apparent: it’s not a question of if, but when the next big quake is going to strike.

Related: Earthquake Safety Tips

Earthquake Brace and Bolt

Are you earthquake ready?

With the threat of the next big quake perpetually looming on the horizon, Southern California homeowners have to ask themselves an important question: is my home earthquake ready? In order to understand why proper structural fortification is needed, it’s necessary to understand how earthquakes affect homes. Though concerns about major earthquakes are certainly warranted, the scary truth is that any situation that involves the ground shifting beneath a home is enough to damage the foundation if it is not properly secured. 

That means that as much as a minor earthquake can potentially upset your home, causing lasting and devastating consequences on the structural health and lifespan of your building. For this reason, it’s essential to make sure that all areas of your building meet current codes and earthquake retrofitting standards. If you have a wood-structured building, especially one constructed prior to 1980, chances are your home is in need of an earthquake retrofitting update. However, if there is any area of weakness in your building, then retrofitting solutions are needed.  

How to spot damage 

TWhile the earthquake retrofitting process will require professional intervention, you can take precautions to protect your home against earthquake damage. The most important thing a homeowner can do to protect their property is to be vigilant about seeking out signs of foundation damage. The most apparent signs that something is amiss with your structure include large cracks, horizontal cracks, wide cracks, cracks clustered together, visible slants in ceilings/floors/walls, a visible slant in the outer structure of the building, doors and windows that have difficult opening, crumbling brick, and water intrusion. If you notice any of these signs, it’s detrimental to the health of your building to call in a professional contractor for an evaluation and home inspection. A professional contractor will be needed, especially there are foundation damage warning signs that can be invisible to the untrained eye.

Related: Preventative Care for Foundation Repair

Preparing your home for an earthquake

After working with a professional to determine the areas of your structure that are in need of updates and fortification, the earthquake retrofitting process can begin. Retrofitting solutions include cripple wall bracing, foundation bolting, and attaching braced cripple walls to the floor.

Strengthening cripple walls will guard the home against buckling when seismic activity hits, while foundation bolting will secure the home in place to prevent it from sliding when the ground shakes. 

Brace and bolt

Together these tried and true earthquake retrofitting measures can secure your home and drastically reduce the potential impact of seismic activity. And since seismic activity can strike at any time, it’s crucial to get the retrofitting process started as soon as possible. Any delay opens the window for damage, destruction, and possible death. Additionally, with mandatory retrofitting ordinances being handed out all over California, chances are your structure will be required by law to be updated if it hasn’t been already.  

If you’re a homeowner in an area prone to seismic activity, it’s key that you act as soon as possible. When it comes to protecting the residents of your dwelling and your property value, there’s no time to lose. Earthquakes could strike at any time, which is why you need to team up with a professional team of contractors and ensure that your home is properly retrofitted and fortified to withstand what nature has to throw at it.

Here at California Foundation Works, we’re dedicated to keeping California residents safe one household at a time. Call today to book your free home inspection so that we can get started on your seismic retrofit!

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