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Earthquakes

OREGON AT RISK (continued)
Earthquakes and other natural hazards

How earthquake-resistant is your building stock?
Most injuries and deaths in earthquakes are from falling buildings. Some communities are doing inventories of their buildings to see how much damage they might expect. In general, wood-frame houses withstand earthquakes reasonably well, while unreinforced brick buildings do poorly.

If you don’t have resources to inventory all buildings, you can focus on priority structures: how well do you expect your fire and police stations, city hall and hospitals to fare? These and other buildings, perhaps schools, major employers, or home improvement stores, will be particularly important to have in working order after an earthquake.

As we learn more about the risk, building codes require more stringent earthquake-resistant measures. As older buildings are substantially remodelled, or completely rebuilt, the risk of collapsing buildings will decline.

How vulnerable are your utilities and transportation system?
Klamath Falls map
The recently completed Klamath Falls relative earthquake hazard map will help city leaders pinpoint areas of concern. Darker colors indicate increasingly higher risk areas during an earthquake.
The vulnerability of these lifelines can be a major factor in how much damage your community suffers, and how quickly rebuilding takes place after a damaging earthquake. For example, fire and the inability to put it out because of damaged water lines is a major cause of destruction after large earthquakes.

To assess your risk, you need to know the location of the natural gas and water pipelines in use. You need to evaluate whether fire-fighting equipment can get out of stations after an earthquake, and whether debris from falling buildings, liquefaction, or other processes will make streets impassable.

DOGAMI’s earthquake hazard maps are available in digital formats on CD-ROM that can easily be used in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to overlay utility lines, streets, or other data. This can be an invaluable tool for emergency planning, or for prioritizing areas for special mitigation efforts.

Link to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association)
Klamath Falls map
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a number of excellent publications to help communities assess their seismic risk.




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