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Earthquake Evacuation Evaluation
Is our building safe for occupancy after an earthquake?
State employees work in all kinds of buildings for all kinds of uses and in dozens of jurisdictions across the state. The earthquake risk varies across Oregon. Furthermore, earthquakes come in many magnitudes, making it difficult to predict the amount of damage that may occur.
In a minor quake it may not be necessary to evacuate the building. On the other hand, if there is significant damage it is best to evacuate.

The EARTHQUAKE EVALUATION GUIDE can be used for two purposes:
  1. After a quake the Site Emergency Coordinator (SEC), with input from top management and Evacuation Coordinators (ECs), must decide about evacuation. The SEC and ECs can use the guide to help decide whether it’s safe or unsafe to remain inside.
  2. If evacuation takes place and there are no facilities people on hand to check for safe re-entry, employees must decide for themselves, just as they would in their own homes.
Occupancy is likely safe if:
  1. The quake leaves little evidence of damage outside the building or across the neighborhood and town, and
  2. the basic inspection finds no or little evidence of damage to the building and its interior components.
A quake that causes noticeable damage within the building and surrounding area calls for more care.
We used the Evaluation guide and still are unsure the building is safe. Shall we call in professionals to inspect it?
Professionals understand structural damage issues. They include engineers, building inspectors, architects, contractors, or people with construction background that are familiar with building construction. Those who have been trained and registered by the Building Codes Division may also post a building as safe or unsafe to occupy. Registered inspectors work with the local building official who coordinates the review of buildings in their jurisdiction, based on priority ranking. Hospitals and care facilities, police and fire stations, emergency centers, water and sewer plants and schools are at the top of the list.
Since it may be some time before you can obtain a professional inspection, you may not be able to wait. If there are no facilities people on hand, make a judgment call based on circumstances. Consider such things as whether there are landslides, large fissures, or movement in the surrounding ground. Per Evaluation Guide, what is the extent of damage to the building? What do local authorities on radio or TV say about damage to utilities, roads, and adjacent buildings in the area?
If your building appears to be unsafe, assume staying inside or re-entering is dangerous. There may be hidden damage to the structure, gas lines, electrical, water, sewer, or other building components. If there is damage, it may be worsened suddenly by an aftershock. If still unsure whether the building is safe to occupy, call in the professionals.
Instructions: Inspect your building for conditions listed below. Use the answers to help make your decision of whether the building is safe to occupy.