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A building in San Francisco’s Marina District after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Image by J.K. Nakata, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

In a previous blog post, “‘Many San Francisco Buildings with Large Windows are at Risk of Being “Soft Story,”‘ we cover the hazards of old San Francisco buildings due to large windows or openings on the ground floor.  A recent article from PBS MediaShift called, “San Francisco, a City That Knows Its Faults”, address the vulnerability of local San Francisco residents living in soft story buildings if an earthquake were to occur today as well as ways to prevent it. According to the article, if an earthquake were to occur today, about 25% of SF’s population would be without a home as about 3,000 of today’s infrastructure are soft story, which house roughly 15% of the SF’s population. Residents would only have three options to consider if their homes were wreck by an earthquake: leave the city permanently and start a new life somewhere else, occupy temporary long-term housing in units that are somehow available or continue living in their home while it is being repaired. The SF Board of Supervisors recently passed the Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program to force landlords to perform seismic retrofits of their soft story buildings. The San Francisco Public Press conducted a list of houses and buildings that are soft story and residents can determine whether they are at risk and can contact their landlords to take action.

AAA Windows strongly advise residents living in these soft story buildings to notify their landlords and perform a seismic retrofit, if necessary. Any buildings that are sustained by windows, garage, or any large openings, should be properly retrofitted for earthquake resilience. As well, homeowners can take additional actions to retrofit their homes with highly durable fiberglass window replacements as they are sturdy and do not decay over time.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2013/04/san-francisco-a-city-that-knows-its-faults102.html

By: Paul Doh

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