Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety When it comes to disaster, there are simple things you can do to make yourself safer. In the spirit of better safe than sorry, here are some basic pointers to keep in mind if you're caught in an earthquake. An earthquake shook buildings in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Monday, witnesses said. The magnitude of the quake or its epicentre was not immediately known.
In the mid-nineteenth century, this was Horatio Alger’s definition for people who never gave up.
Built in 1898, the Valencia Hotel was a four-story wood frame structure with a brick foundation. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake occurred a little too early in history for major engineering lessons to be learned. Is a building that has been built up to the requirements of a recent edition of the building code earthquake-proof?
The aim of the building code is to provide safe performance but not earthquake-proof performance. Ductility, the ability to bend and deform without breaking, is a key aspect of current seismic design.
If seismic isolation is the best method for minimizing or eliminating earthquake damage, why don’t more Bay Area buildings use it? Prominent examples include the new de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and two in the civic center, City Hall and the Asian Art Museum. This display explains that the ramps leading on and off the Golden Gate Bridge have been seismically engineered using base isolation.Photo courtesy Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
Earthquake MythsWe asked Robert Reiterman to help us explore some common myths about earthquakes and seismic safety. The San Andreas Fault, which was the source of the both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, does not pass through any portion of the City and County of San Francisco.

The epicenter is the point on Earth's surface below which the fault first started to rupture.
Most magnitude figures used today are measured on magnitude scales other than the one Charles Richter developed in 1935, for example on the surface wave magnitude scale or one called the moment magnitude scale. Loma Prieta is a mountaintop close to the epicenter of the 1989 earthquake, which was caused by a slip on the San Andreas Fault. It is generally true that harder, older geologic material makes better building sites than softer, younger material. But if the videos from Japan are any indication, we don’t remember them all when the disaster actually hits. The author of over one hundred popular books for boys applauded those who conquered adversity and rose above difficult times.
The combination of ferries and trains took 300,000 of the 410,000 population to other cities in the Bay Area. Certain locations in the structure are designed to become bent or cracked to a controlled extent to protect other more fragile areas of the structure.
Seismic isolation is a method of decoupling a building from its foundation so that it can move somewhat independently from the ground motion. The Golden Gate Bridge approach spans (but not the main suspension bridge) have been retrofitted with isolators. In a large magnitude earthquake, the fault breaks along a considerable distance and vibrations are sent out from that rupturing length. The building code classifies soil from A (rock harder than is typically found in San Francisco or the Bay Area) through F (the softest, wettest soil). It might not be a bad idea to read up the safety tips once again, and know what to do if you are indoors, outdoors, in a car, or trapped under debris. Sign up for email news and updates about BART's Earthquake Safety Program Major Earthquake Safety Program.

Avoid stopping under bridges and flyovers as well, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Typically the only buildings using seismic isolation are essential facilities, like hospitals, or buildings that merit special property protection, such as museums or historic structures. In the 1906 earthquake, a segment of the San Andreas Fault 300 miles long ruptured, and strong ground motion occurred all along that length.
For example, an earthquake offshore of northern California in 1980 ended up with the somewhat confusing name Offshore Trinidad Earthquake, because the little town of Trinidad, California was nearby. But in recent decades, geotechnical (soil) engineers have learned how soil can be trucked in and compacted to form solid manmade ground. It is also possible to use piles, which are like long concrete posts, embedded deep in the ground to provide adequate support on soft soils.
This was one of the greatest evacuation efforts in history.picture1right400After the earthquake, Southern Pacific ran 1400 trains throughout the Bay Area free of charge. The SP evacuation began 45 minutes after the earthquake occurred and for lasted the next five days.
The Ferry Building has gone through several renovations, but now – restored and repurposed – it’s back and better than ever. In the late 1930s, the dome was removed to permit the addition of six additional floors and the entire building received an Art Deco makeover.

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