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33 County Owned Buildings Potentially at Risk During Major L.A. Earth Quake

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times received a list of structures identified as part of an effort initiated by L.A. County officials to protect non-ductile concrete buildings from earthquake-related collapse. These 33 buildings have an insufficient steel reinforcement structure, which can cause concrete to burst out of columns during seismic activity, leading to what could be disastrous consequences. The Board of Supervisors has set a deadline of ten years to complete seismic upgrades on these buildings, which will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The majority of the structures on the list were built during the post-World War II era. Concrete-frame buildings were constructed with the potentially fatal flaw that was discovered in 1971 during the Sylmar quake and recently seen in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Experts emphasize the importance of these buildings being able to withstand a future major earthquake especially an event of similar magnitude- the last one that was comparable occurred over 160 years ago.

Experts point out that these buildings are especially crucial to the functioning of local government in Southern California. “After an earthquake, you want your public health director to be able to do her job. You want the coroner to be able to do his job. And you want the county supervisors to be able to get together and make decisions and not be having to deal with their own trauma, with their own staff being injured,” said seismologist Lucy Jones, a research associate at Caltech.

Some of the buildings on the list are the Hall of Administration, the Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner, and the headquarters for the departments of public health and health services. These buildings are home to many of the top officials in those departments.

Read full story on LA Times

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