Civil/Structural Engineering, Vashon, Washington, USA 206-463-5311
Ellisport Engineering Blog
Valentine's Day Webinar

On February 14th, Eric and I attended a webinar about a new FEMA document:  FEMA E-74 Reducing Non-Structural Damages from an Earthquake.  This document is available through a free download from the following link:

The webinar focused on earthquake damage, often featuring buildings undamaged structurally, yet unusable from the interior damage.  There were many horrendous pictures of fallen ceiling tiles, overturned bookcases, fallen pipes and overhead equipment, clogged exit ways and stairs, and water damage from leaking sprinklers.

General statistics pointed to 60% of the building's repair costs related to non-structural components damage.  Yet, retrofit costs before the quake can cost as little as $2 per square foot.

Of special concern are hospitals, police and fire stations, and emergency response centers.  After the 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake, six hospitals were rendered unusable, chiefly because of non-structural damage: fallen ceiling tiles, broken sprinkler lines, water damage, and toppled equipment.  This happened at a time when the hospitals were most critically needed.  FEMA E-74 addresses these issues, providing guidelines and recommendations to mitigate future non-structural damage.

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