Following an earthquake, the first priority must always be to make certain everyone is safe and to help those who are injured. Human life should be put above all else, so individuals need to make certain that they are in a secure location, as aftershocks can continue for an extended period of time. Once this has been done, however, the attention needs to turn to the structure people are currently in. Although a building may appear to be safe after an event of this type, care must be taken. The aftershocks could lead to additional damage or make existing damage more prominent. For this reason, the following steps should be taken as soon as possible following the earthquake.
First and foremost, make certain everyone involved in the inspection has the appropriate footwear, as there may be glass and other debris that could lead to injuries. Furthermore, clean up any hazardous materials that may have spilled during the earthquake, but be careful when doing so. Substances may have combined and lead to unseen issues due to chemical reactions. Open windows to ensure there is adequate ventilation during this process, and stop and evacuate the building if any concerns arise.
Check the structure for live electrical wires and other potential hazards. If possible, turn off the utilities at the mains, taking caution when doing so. In the event gas is smelled, evacuate immediately and search for another safe location to wait out the aftershocks. When a water leak is detected, attempt to stop it while taking steps to conserve existing water. Keep the doors to the refrigerator and freezer closed if power has been out to keep the food good as long as possible also. In the event water is needed, melt ice cubes or make use of reserve water to clean wounds until the water supply has been declared safe.
Immediately check to see if there is any obvious structural damage like gaps or craks. The building may tilt as a result of the natural disaster, thus the vertical alignment needs to be examined right away. Many companies now make use of building maintenance units in NZ to help examine a building for damage at a time such as this, and it’s an option every business should consider. To supplement BMU systems in NZ, building occupants should also do a visual exam of the structure.
Cracks in the foundation may be easily visible during this inspection, as the walls can separate from the foundation. Large diagonal cracks observed on concrete members is an indication the building is no longer safe, and the same is true if connection joints for wood and steel have separated. Ceilings and walls also need to be examined for the possibility of failure. Much of this damage may be hidden behind walls or in ceilings, so extreme care must be taken as this inspection is being conducted.
Don’t forget to check closets and storage areas during the inspection. Slowly open doors to these areas, however. Items may have been loosened during the earthquake and could fall when the door is opened.
It is best to call engineering companies in New Zealand to do a thorough exam as soon as possible. They have the tools and equipment needed to do a thorough inspection of the business, including areas hidden to the eye. Do everything possible to facilitate the process, such as providing the inspectors with security codes to restricted areas and things of that nature. Have any employees present in the building follow the directions of the inspectors to ensure no one is harmed as the process continues. In addition, ask for recommendations about steps that can be taken to prevent damage in the future.
Turn to Farra Engineering (www.farra.co.nz) for help with checking a structure following an earthquake. Many individuals know this company as NZ lift manufacturers, and they offer numerous other services also. You can rely on them when it comes to cnc machining in NZ. They offer the equipment companies need for checking their structure and numerous other implements as well. From a temporary lift work platform to signs directing customers as the building is repaired, they work with clients to obtain the items they need following an earthquake.