Researchers tested the structural strength of buildings at the University of California-San Diego to determine how safe they are in the event of a major earthquake, according to KPBS-TV. In 2012, experts built a five-story building model on top of an earthquake simulator and administered a “shake table” experiment that simulated the conditions of different scales of earthquakes to study the safety of the building.
“Everything is full-sized,” graduate student Michelle Chen said after the 2012 test. “It’s the same sized columns you would see in a normal sized building. It’s basically the core of a whole structure.”
Researchers repeated the experiment this year and found that fire is one of the most serious threats to the building in the event of an earthquake. The scientists started a fire inside of the building after simulating an earthquake and discovered it spread rapidly through the cracked infrastructure and greatly destabilized the staircases.
“In a lab scale test you can’t see how the building works together,” said Brian Meacham, a researcher at Worchester Polytechnic, a contributor to the study. “But on this shake table, being able to see this five story structure you really understand the overall implications.”
It is great to see UCSD and partners conducting this type of study, as earthquakes are of particular concern to residents of Southern California. Meacham hopes that this research will ultimately lead to a change in building codes that makes them safer in the event of an earthquake. If building owners are aware that a building has preventable safety risks in the event of an earthquake but do not take reasonable steps to increase safety, they could be liable in a premises liability lawsuit if people are injured or killed.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries because of a property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact our firm at (858) 530-4800 to schedule a free consultation or you can enter your information in the form on this page to have our San Diego injury lawyer review your case.
Tip of the week: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were approximately 364,500 fires in 2011 resulting in 2,450 deaths, 13,900 and approximately $6,651,400,00 in damages.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego injury attorney