I Spend Time in an Older Building

I work, attend school, or otherwise spend time in an older building

  • Possibly the biggest challenge in preparing for an earthquake is the uncertainty.  Geologists don’t know if an earthquake will hit next week or in 30 years or more.  They don’t know how big it will be and only have a general idea of which areas will be hit the hardest.
  • A major challenge is deciding what to do in situations in which you don’t own the URM—for example, a job site or a school.
  • You must decide for yourself and your family how much risk you are willing to accept—we cannot make this decision for you.


  • Learn as much as you can about the building:
  • When was it built?
  • What kind of construction does it have?
  • Has it been evaluated by a professional for earthquake safety?
  • Has any retrofitting been done? Was the retrofitting designed and completed by trained professionals?
  • Ask the owners/managers if they have taken steps to increase earthquake safety of the building—and ask to see signed-off building permits showing the work has been done.
  • Do you have other options available?
  • Have you done all you can to encourage retrofitting or replacing the URM?
  • It’s your decision, but whatever you decide, your decision should be an informed one.


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