Earthquakes and Schools
Earthquakes are low-probability, high-consequence events. Though they may occur only once in the life of a school, they can have devastating, irreversible consequences. Moderate earthquakes can cause serious damage to building contents and non-structural building systems, serious injury to students and staff, and disruption of building operations. Major earthquakes can cause catastrophic damage, including structural collapse and massive loss of life.
Those responsible for school safety must understand and manage these risks, particularly risks that threaten the lives of students, teachers, and staff. This article presents a primer about earthquake design basics and actions to manage these risks. It offers a checklist on mitigation and preparedness, and appendices on the school as an earthquake shelter.