Will San Francisco's buildings stand up in an earthquake? | KALW

Will San Francisco's buildings stand up in an earthquake?

Mar 15, 2013

This past Monday, Riverside County experienced a magnitude 4.7 earthquake. That’s not really news for Southern California, but this is: an earthquake detection system accurately predicted it.

The Early Earthquake Warning project alerted seismologists based in Pasadena about the quake about 30 seconds before it happened. The current plan is to implement the system statewide, in hopes that it could save lives. What could be done in 30 seconds? It could alert trains to slow down so they don't jump the tracks, and employees in hazardous jobs could be warned to take quick precautions.

This leads to the question: are we all prepared for the “Big One”? Not just us, but our buildings? Apparently not, according to a recent report. The most recent edition of the San Francisco Public Press carried an in depth multi-faceted report, looking at just how prepared San Francisco buildings are. Noah Arroyo reported the series, finding that one in 14 San Francisco buildings are not earthquake ready. He joined KALW’s Hana Baba in studio to tell me about the dilemma of the city’s soft-story buildings.

Click the audio player above to listen to the interview.