Seismic resilience for businesses gains larger focus

At a press event, in seminars, and through one-on-one business outreach, there is increasing focus on business steps to reduce risk.  But are businesses acting?

Utilize and share LAEDC’s new guide, Preparing for Business after an Earthquake, HERE, also available in Spanish language HERE.

Thursday, October 10th, a press conference was conducted in LA with expert perspectives on the risk to businesses, along with an agenda for minimizing that risk.  SoCal News Group’s 11 newspapers summarized the press conference, HERE.

Here is an excerpt of the article and we encourage you to follow the link and read the entire piece:

LA business owners need to be ready for a huge earthquake, or ‘you risk losing it all,’ group says


The responsibility to protect the public and all of your employees should there be an earthquake is inherit to property owners and employers. And that protection can be viewed as an investment, too. Just ask Anheuser-Busch. (More on that in a moment).

That message was the overarching theme on Thursday at a seminar held in Downtown Los Angeles, where representatives from the Los Angeles Business Federation, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Optimum Seismic Inc. and the Southern California Association of Governments discussed a 24-page report on encouraging and creating incentives for property owners to upgrade their buildings to make them resilient against earthquakes.

The report was co-written by Evan Reis, the executive director of the U.S. Resiliency Council, and Ali Sahabi of Optimum Seismic Inc., a real estate developer and general engineering contractor.

“All building owners should know if it is retrofitted or not, otherwise you risk losing it all,” Sahabi said.

Sahabi said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been telling Los Angeles business leaders that if they don’t update their buildings, 40% of businesses might not survive a major earthquake.

“Yet, this is preventable. Earthquakes are not preventable, but disasters are,” Sahabi said.

Sahabi said that studies have shown for every $1 spent on retrofitting a building, $7 could be saved. He pointed to Anheuser-Busch spending more than $1 million on its San Fernando Valley brewery for earthquake retrofitting and that it saved hundreds of millions in potential losses when an earthquake struck in 1994.

While sustainability has been emphasized in the past, resiliency and retrofitting is where it’s at today in preparing for “The Big One.”

Retrofitting can also protect against economic devastation.

By making an investment to retrofit a building, the results can lead to lower repair and replacement costs, according to the report, along with avoiding possible liability for negligence due to death and injuries caused by the failure of buildings, relocation costs, destruction of equipment and investment, displacement of key employers and loss of goodwill and business opportunities.

The report also indicates one of the biggest responsibilities of government is to spark and to protect economic development that brings jobs, support public services and enhance the quality of life for communities.

Several independent studies show the money spent to retrofit an existing building has significant benefits including lowering building repair and replacement costs, continuation of building function that reduces business interruption, preservation of revenue streams and most importantly, improved life safety.

It’s been 25 years since the deadly, 6.7-magnitude earthquake flattened and twisted building and collapsed freeway overpasses causing $67 billion in damage.

Experts estimate the economic impact of a projected 7.8-magnitude tremor along the San Andrea Fault here in Southern California would be the deadliest in U.S. history, causing $80 billion in business interruption.

Since Northridge, new tools are in place to help business owners become more resilient should an earthquake affect them.

Among the many tips Lawren Markle, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Economic Corp., shared with the group was the creation of a cyber lab that is available to business owners and the importance of protecting the assets necessary to maintain a business after a seismic occurrence.

Markle said it was important to assess everything you must do after an earthquake hits, such as having an updated employee contact list to having cash on hand in a safe place in case banks are closed and setting up a line of credit today versus tomorrow…  (Text continues — Read the full story at San Gabriel Valley News, HERE.)

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