The Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission has released a report on the 2018 magnitude-7.1 earthquake with recommendations for keeping people safe in the next major quake. The safety commission reports to the governor and Legislature its goals and priorities for both the public and private sectors when it comes to earthquake risks.

The report from the state commission looked at the areas hardest hit by the quake and where the most damage occurred. The study found structures up to modern building codes withstood the quake better than other structures.

The two big takeaways in the report are: 

  • The Importance of Earthquake Resilient Critical Infrastructure
  • The Importance of Building Code Adoption and Enforcement

The commission recommends the state evaluates what critical infrastructures are most vulnerable and concentrate on making them safer by bringing them up to code. Critical infrastructure includes ports, schools, hospitals, firehouses, airports, roads, power generating facilities and transmission lines, water supply and delivery systems, as well as police stations. 

Another recommendation in the report is for communities to adopt and enforce building codes. However, the report also found that even in places with building codes, the codes are often not enforced.

The report says fewer buildings were structurally damaged where the Municipality of Anchorage building codes are regulated. One example outlined in the report stated 38 of the 40 damaged structures were located in the Chugiak-Eagle River area where inspections aren't required to verify code compliance. 

 

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