Earthquake Risk Management Tips for Building Owners and Operators

Earthquakes can be catastrophic for building owners and operators. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to mitigate and manage your earthquake risk.

We recently sat down with our client, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (the Authority) in a joint webinar, where the Authority discussed some actionable tips for protecting your assets during an earthquake. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from that discussion:

5 Earthquake Risk Management Tips for Building Owners

While earthquakes are unavoidable, there are several things you can do to mitigate and manage your risk.

1. Create a Comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

Comprehensive business continuity plans are essential for getting your property back up and running quickly and safely after an earthquake. There are several frameworks for BCPs. Here are three elements that were discussed:

  • Avoidance – Avoidance is all about avoiding the risk: fixing or moving a building to make it more resistant to natural disasters in the first place.
  • Assignment – This involves transferring off some of your risk to an insurance company.
  • Adaptation – You can’t completely remove all your risks, so adaptation is all about mitigating residual risk. One aspect of this is the ability to be prepared and gain situational awareness more rapidly in the event of an earthquake and then use that information to understand the impact and make swift decisions.

If you include these three components in your BCP, you’ll be much more equipped to manage your earthquake risk.

2. Check on Earthquake Coverage

Our discussion also included the importance of taking time to check your earthquake insurance coverage. You might find that you only have certain buildings covered or that you don’t have earthquake coverage at all. It’s best practice to evaluate your property schedules annually and make sure you’re updating them with new properties you’ve purchased or sold.

Even if you have coverage, be sure to understand the limits and deductibles. Take the time to read your coverage documents to ensure you have adequate coverage for your needs.

3. Update Your Emergency Action Plans

How long has it been since you’ve looked at your emergency earthquake action plan? Too often, businesses aren’t conducting consistent drills, and more than likely, they don’t have viable business resumption plans, either.

Generally, this isn’t the facility or business manager’s fault. These sorts of things require manpower, money, and resources that many companies don’t have, but it’s a critical component for any organization (public or private) to prioritize.

4. Know the Building Shut-Off Locations

There’s always a considerable risk of gas and water leaks after an earthquake, particularly in older buildings. That’s why it’s important to install gas seismic shut-off valves and ensure critical staff knows where the main electrical and water shut-offs are (and how they work).

Knowing this key information can prevent fires and flooding after an earthquake, which both tend to do more damage than the earthquake itself.

5. Install the Safehub Sensor System

The Safehub sensor system is installed within a building to provide real-time damage information to facility managers and property owners to aid them in their emergency response decisions after an earthquake. It provides critical in-depth information about the building to help prioritize where a professional inspection is needed onsite and supports structural engineers in their inspections.

Additionally, the sensors allow you to run simulations of likely impacts to help you plan and be more prepared for an earthquake. Installing the Safehub sensor technology is one of the best ways to quickly (and cost-effectively) improve your earthquake risk management strategy.

Gain Critical Situational Awareness and Improve Earthquake Risk Management

Risk management is all about being proactive and aware. By using the tips above, you can help improve your earthquake risk management to be better prepared for an earthquake.

Watch the entire webinar:

If you’d like more information about the Safehub system, schedule your demo today.