Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes

On a Sunday morning in late August 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake surprised Napa, California residents and caused structural damage to many homes and businesses in the area. One of the most powerful earthquakes in Napa’s history, local news outlet KQED reported $300 million in damage to homes and commercial properties.

Napa is right in our backyard, about 60 miles north of Pleasanton. Many Simpson Strong-Tie employees felt the quake, but fortunately no one was injured. If you’ve ever been in a large earthquake, you would probably agree that it’s a frightening and unsettling experience. And unlike other natural disasters, there’s no warning. Here is one woman’s story about the Napa earthquake:
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Protecting Homes Against Earthquakes With Seismic Retrofitting

If an earthquake were to strike at this very moment, are you confident your home is adequately constructed to withstand it? Depending on where you live, how your house is built—and the year in which it was originally constructed—an earthquake could have a devastating impact on your physical and financial health.

We’ve all witnessed the catastrophic impact that large earthquakes can have on society recently, and our hearts go out to those affected in Mexico who are picking up the pieces. Since October is Earthquake Preparedness Month and October 19 is the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, we thought we’d share some steps homeowners and building owners can take to help minimize the risk of damage.

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Earthquake Checklist: How to Prepare Your Home

Whether you’re buying a new home or planning to stay in your current home for years to come, it’s important to make sure the building you live in is structurally sound. The following earthquake checklist will help you determine whether your house is properly connected and reinforced to withstand an earthquake.

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Creating Resilient Buildings and Communities

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about resilient buildings and resilient communities, including what it means to be resilient, why it’s important, whether it’s possible within budget constraints, and how it can be achieved. The 100 Resilient Cities Rockefeller Foundation initiativedefines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

The discussions have noted that communities are made up of several components — such as buildings, infrastructure, water, power and communication — that all need to be considered when developing a plan for resilience. Even though community resilience is multifaceted, the resiliency of buildings is a crucial component because research shows that Americans spend 90% of their day inside buildings.
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5 Tips for Homeowners Living in Earthquake Zones

You might not think you live in earthquake country, but at least 42 states are considered at moderate to very high risk earthquake zones. As you evaluate your home’s ability to withstand an earthquake and prepare for a seismic retrofit, knowing these simple steps will help ensure that your home is structurally sound and earthquake resistant.

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Should I Seismic Retrofit My Home?

Certain types of homes are more likely to need a seismic retrofit than others. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider retrofitting your home.

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5 Steps to a Safer and More Storm-Resistant Home

As we’ve seen with the hurricane seasons of that past decade or so, homes are not always built to be storm resistant. During the 2017 hurricane season, countless homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of families displaced. It will take years for communities to rebuild and recover from such devastation.

Fortunately, there are solutions that can help protect your home from a hurricane or high-wind event. Building your home to meet or exceed code requirements can have a significant impact on whether your home withstands the next big storm. Many parts of the country follow the International Building Code, which establishes design standards for new home construction. If properly enforced, these codes help strengthen homes and protect them from storm damage.
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Retrofitting Your Home for High Wind — 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Nearly all parts of the country are subject to high winds. It’s important that your house is designed to withstand a high wind storm. Knowing whether your house is storm ready requires a few simple steps.

One of the first things to consider is where you live. Coastal areas, for example, are more susceptible to powerful winds such as hurricanes. Local building codes for these areas typically require homes to resist much higher wind speeds than inland homes. You’ll want to check with your local building department to learn about the codes that govern your area.

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