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This is really a wide open topic. There are things that you can in the office or shop, or to your building, that are all very important to survival from an earthquake. Start with a family plan You must start there.

It your home ready? Do you have a ready supply of food, water, first aid supplies, radio, batteries, and flashlights? Have you thought about making your home safe by doing Such things as bolting the building to the foundation, securing heavy objects, and finding out where the gas turns off? Have you talked to your family about where you will all meet if there is an earthquake?

If you haven't done these things, then its about time that you did. These are all things that are easy to do and, if done right, will make the time after the earthquake easier to deal with.

There are some other things that are necessary. These include having a sufficient supply of your prescription on hand, knowing how to react, and then rehearsing with your family to make sure that everyone knows what to do.

The chances are about four to one that you won't be either at home or at work. The odds are really against you and your family being together, so the issue of having a designated meeting place is very important. However, you must be aware that when you get there, the other members of your family won't be there, so leave a note and get on with what you have to do.

The same issues hold true in the work place. However, here it is far more complicated. If you are the building owner, then you hold your own survival in your own hands. If you are not the owner, and most are not, then the matter becomes somewhat different.

First of all, you need to be sure that your own area is made as safe as possible. Just like at home, secure heavy objects, have a supply of food and water, radio, batteries, and a flashlight and, most important, know how to react and have an evacuation plan. Make sure that your plan will let you be sure that your building is up to code, not just the building code, but the seismic provisions of the code. This may not always be either financially or physically possible. However, your long- range plan should be to achieve this end. And, in this regard, you need to secure the services of a licensed engineer to assist you in accomplishing this objective. He or she can tell you want you need to do to make your building safe from a structural standpoint.

Don't forget your elevator. The chances are pretty good that someone will be stuck in it if the earthquake occurs in the daytime. But, don't rely on this, check it anyway. I can't imagine much worse than being stuck in one for two or three days. This should be part of your evacuation plan.

You also need to have a plan for your employees. They need to know what is expected of them, where to report to work if their normal place is damaged, and what they are expected to do. my own employees are allowed to go home if they feel they need to and they can get there. Then, of course, they are urged to return to work after they have made sure that their families are provided for. An employee that is overly concerned about his or her family is not worth much in trying to deal with a crisis situation. One thing you have to realize is that most will stick with you or will come back immediately. So don't overly concern yourself with this issue. One thing to be sure of, however, is that those that are essential or have essential duties are covered. During the last earthquake, a building engineer ran out of the building right after the earthquake and has not been seen since. Aside from the humor of the situation, the owner had to make sure that his responsibilities were taken care of.

The City will not be able to inspect all of the private buildings immediately after the earthquake. Emergency response buildings, hospitals, and mass care centers will get first priority treatment. After them, we will look at buildings that are visibly damaged. Then, and only then, will we be able to get to the large number of private buildings in San Francisco.

After the earthquake of October 17th, we inspected over 12,000 buildings in the first two weeks. Some were inspected more than once, so you can see it will be a long time, if ever, before we get to all the buildings in the City. By the way, we had over 500 volunteer engineers to help us in our inspections last October.

There is one thing that you can do if you are a building owner.

We are making available a checklist that your engineer can use to make a quick evaluation of your building. Having and using this form should help in both the evaluation of the building and in informing your employees about what you have found out. If you are a tenant, then you may want to suggest to your landlord that he or she use this system. Ultimately, there will probably need to be a validation of the findings by the City, but this system should go a long ways toward getting back to normal.

We will be posting buildings as time and conditions permit. Sometimes the postings will change. These changes will occur because of errors made in the initial survey, changes found once we are able to get into a building, changing conditions caused by aftershocks, or changes caused by the condition of a building next door. it is important that we make follow-up inspections to guard against missing an unsafe situation and to validate findings made by your engineers.

There is a somewhat unusual situation that will occur. Some owners and/or tenants will not report a damaged building. Maybe its fear of eviction, insurance loss, or whatever. But, some will not report damage. In the case of the last earthquake, we are still finding some damage, and I am sure we will continue to find more in the next few months. This is the same as we experienced with regard to people. Some folks just did not want to be evacuated, again out of fear of the unknown. We just had to keep looking to be sure we found them all.

I think the most important thing is to make ready that which we control then attempt to deal with those things outside of our control. But, in any case, be sure that you have done all that you can to get "you" ready.

Return to 1989 Earthquake Exhibit.