Retrofitting or replacing URMs does save lives.
- We all witnessed the tragic earthquake in Nepal in April 2015 that killed nearly 9000 people and injured over 22,000. In all that tragedy, there were a few success stories. While most buildings in Nepal were poorly built URMs, the few that had been retrofitted, often at low cost through programs by local and international organizations, performed much better and saved many lives. (see U.S.Aid.gov)
- In Utah, the Cherry Hills Elementary School in Orem is a great example of a few concerned citizens making a big difference. The old school was one of the worst-designed schools in the state in terms of earthquake resistance. A few concerned parents went to meetings, lobbied anyone who would listen, passed around petitions, pushed for the election of sympathetic school board members, and campaigned hard for the passage of a school bond election. Eventually, two dangerous schools were torn down and replaced with modern buildings that meet high earthquake building code standards. Today, thousands of children enter two of the safest buildings in the state instead of two of the most dangerous buildings in the state — all because of a few concerned parents.
- Fix the Bricks Campaign. In late 2016 the Salt Lake City Office of Emergency Management kicked off one of the most exciting programs to date. Home and building owners can apply for matching grants (funding from FEMA) to do seismic retrofitting projects on their buildings. This program is slated to get even bigger in 2017. We expect this program will save many lives and injuries and encourage everyone to get involved.