Earthquakes: Do they worry you?

Looking around San Francisco, there are many buildings that don’t look like they are earthquake proof. Older, all brick, beautiful but seemingly fragile.

New or old, do you feel safe? Do you worry they might scatter like these magazine cover homes?

Coming from the East Coast, where hurricanes are our worry, earthquakes give me fear. Hurricanes are big, slow, and predictable a day in advance. Earthquakes, not.

Running through downtown I see all these tall buildings and wonder – might the “Big One” come when I am here?

So I wonder, I worry, I don’t feel safe inside big buildings, new or old. Am I the only one?

7 Comments so far

  1. tyler82 (unregistered) on November 19th, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

    i grew up in northern california and i remember feeling the ’89 earthquake as well as many tremblors, although i was never near the epicenter, yes they are very frightening especially when you are in high places, but i wouldn’t worry too much because most of the damage caused to buildings back in the Big One was caused by massive fires and a useless hydrant and water supply. i think we are a little more prepared now, but not “prepared.” i think our biggest worry has to come from a current administration unwilling to take any responsibility accountability and action for anything bad that goes on in this country. if the city sets afire again we definitely have better technologies to deal with it (air borne helicopters and airplanes to fight the flames) but, we also have less public transportation methods to get people out because we are now so dependent on our cars. we are also dependent on two huge bridges that, if they become unable to transport vehicles in or out, will be the most serious concern.


  2. Anna L. Conti (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 9:49 am

    Take a (free) NERT class and your questions will be answered, you’ll feel better, nad you’ll be able to help others when the big one happens.


  3. TinMan (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 10:55 am

    As a California native, I don’t worry about it too much. It doesn’t matter how strong the structure is, a strong enough earthquake will knock down any wall.

    It’s not really earthquake weather anyhow right now.

    What you really should be worried about are inattentive drivers yammering on cellphones who don’t look for pedestrians or cyclists. Or if you’re driving, you would be worried about inattentive pedestrians yammering on cellphones who don’t check for traffic before stepping into the street.


  4. KC (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 11:05 am

    After looking at the SFGate pictures from the 1906 earthquake and seeing people WALK OUT of their thrid floor windows, I’m convinced that in an earthquake my building will collapse. I’m on the second floor so I’m hopeful that the second floor (not the third) becomes the first… a girl can hope.


  5. cd (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 11:59 am

    Depending on where you live, its less collapse than liquifaction you should worry about. Three words of advice: Avoid the Marina.


  6. mark (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 12:14 pm

    I remember walking around downtown after the 1989 quake imagining that sheets of plate glass would slip off skyscrapers in an earthquake and cut me to shreds, and I actually kept in mind the location of nearest doorways to duck into in case I heard a rumbling.

    In fact, aside from the collapse of the Cypress freeway in Oakland (which was the largest single site of deaths and injuries in the 1989 quake), more people were hurt by being *next to* buildings than *in* them — for example, people standing or sitting next to brick buildings were crushed when the bricks all came off. A friend of mine narrowly escaped this fate.

    In the ensuing years many older buildings and freeways have been made safe (or closed or torn down if the owners couldn’t afford to make them safe — a case in point is the brick church at 19th and Dolores — seen in the lower left in this picture — which was closed this year because the congregation couldn’t afford to make it safe).


  7. TinMan (unregistered) on November 20th, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    FYI, according to this table from the National Safety Council, you have a better chance of being killed by lightning, so beware of golfing during thunderstorms.



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