For property owners and managers on the West Coast, having an earthquake-preparedness plan is yesterday’s news. But damaging earthquakes aren’t limited to the West.1 In fact, two of the Top 10 strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the U.S. occurred east of the Rocky Mountains — in New Madrid, Mo., in 1812 and in Charleston, S.C., in 1886.2
Unlike other natural disasters, there is not an earthquake season, and these damaging events occur with zero notice. For building owners and operators in areas that may have earthquakes but aren’t as prone to them as the West, another challenge arises, as only some states east of the Rocky’s have regulated seismic codes on the books.
For example, the majority of the seven Midwestern states in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), have state-wide mandated seismic building codes, including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The other NMSZ states, including Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri, defer to their local jurisdictions to adopt codes under state guidance instead.
To address these discrepancies, carriers should encourage building owners and operators to perform the following eight precautionary measures to strengthen and secure their buildings well before an earthquake occurs.
Investment in earthquake preparations may seem extraneous or even unnecessary to some property owners east of the Rocky Mountains, but retrofitting or enhancing structural strength will pay dividends when done properly, should an earthquake occur. Regardless of the location, the goal is always for an insured’s property to be one of the buildings still standing post-quake because they prepared.
For more strategies to consider for protecting your facility from potential earthquake damage no matter where you live, reach out to RMC Group today.
This information is intended for informational purposes only. Each restoration project has unique properties and must be evaluated individually by knowledgeable consultants. Additionally, cutting samples of roof assemblies should be performed by qualified professionals and in some instances approved by the roofing manufacturer. RMC Group is not liable for any loss or damage arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.
1 Michigan Technological University “Earthquakes in the Midwestern and Eastern United States?!”
2 Verisk AIR Currents “Top 10 Historical Earthquakes in the U.S.: What Would They Cost Today?” October 23, 2017.
3 Angi “How Much Does an Earthquake Valve Cost?” January 11, 2022.