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you are outside, lying down on the ground away from trees and
structures and covering your head.
There is also advice on how to determine your degree of
risk—which might also help determine if insurance is unavoidable. This comes from Before and After Disaster Strikes: “Real estate managers should determine if their area has a history of
earthquakes, the likelihood of another quake occurring, and the
amount of damage typically caused by quakes in the vicinity. If
real estate managers determine that earthquakes are a potential
threat to the property, then an earthquake emergency plan is
needed.” For such information, the book points readers to the
National Institute of Building Science and provides contact information.
No matter your region of the world, natural disasters are
inevitable, be they hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes or any-
thing else Nature can throw at us. Smart property managers
know how they need to react in order to mitigate damage and
expedite recovery, and they need to react from a position of
strength, rather than from confusion or chaos.
Property managers, after all, should be the voices of calm
and direction in a crisis. To enforce that voices, a thorough disaster management strategy is key. Remember, the question is
not if. It’s when.
to be in a
Unlike most other natural disasters,
earthquakes, especially mild or moderate ones, can leave hidden surprises.
“A building may look sound,” says Joe
Greenblatt, “and still be structurally
weakened.” Gas and electric lines might
be ruptured, raising the threat of fire
or explosion if lights are turned on or
Before and After Disaster Strikes sug-
gests that, “It may be appropriate to
have a structural engineer inspect the
building. If the property owner is re-
sponsible for water, sewer and other
underground utilities . . . it may be nec-
essary to have appropriate profession-
als check out the integrity of such util-
Greenblatt points out that most newer
California properties are being built to
some degree of seismic standard. Nev-
ertheless, there are certain types of
structures that are more susceptible.
According to Before and After, these
range from L-shaped structures and
masonry buildings with no reinforc-
ing steel, to mobile and manufactured
homes. The authors advise that up-
grades to such structures, as possi-
ble, are part of a sound preparedness
As the book points out, an earthquake
might last only a few seconds. How
long the emergency remains a crisis in
many respects is really up to building
management and ownership.
—WARNS JOE GREENBLATT, CPM.