Seismograph for earthquake detection

Earthquakes Threaten Thousands of Students: Study

  September 20, 2019

By Dan Hounsell

The blight of deferred maintenance continues to take a heavy toll on institutional and commercial facilities. The backlog of repairs in education facilities is especially problematic for two reasons. First, to fund much-needed repairs and upgrades to these aging buildings, managers must rely on taxpayers, who often resist efforts to invest in maintenance. Second, students spend the bulk of their days in K-12 and higher education buildings.

The threats to students from aging, failing buildings came into clearer focus recently in the form of a study of the potential threat to California’s students and facilities from earthquakes.

California is extremely prone to earthquakes, with several fault lines running beneath the Golden State. Some of these active fault lines are the Hayward fault, Newport-Inglewood and San Jacinto faults, and perhaps most famous of all, the San Andreas fault. But new research carried out by universities in California found that a major earthquake could pose a significant risk to life because of outdated buildings, according to The Express.

An independent study carried out by the University of California (UC) has found that there are 68 seismically deficient structures at UC Berkeley and 18 at UCLA. No buildings were deemed too “dangerous”, which is the worst category in seismically deficient buildings, but six in Berkley and three at UCLA posed a “severe” risk to life.

With 45,000 students at UCLA and 42,000 students at Berkeley, a major earthquake could be catastrophic. Though the review was carried out under the UC’s own initiative, and its buildings do adhere to Californian regulations, the university will upgrade its structures.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.



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