Earthquake is not a matter of luck

Alessandra Marini and concepts of Awareness, Responsibility, and Action

Earthquake is not a matter of Luck. During the TEDxBrescia event, Eng. Prof. Alessandra Marini (University of Bergamo) talks about the issue of Earthquakes in Italy and how it should not be a problem anymore.

“The effects of Earthquakes are not a matter of luck. It destroys countless houses and hurts many families… Or not! Somebody is lucky.

Has it something to do with luck? Or can we address it?

Securing buildings: this means that, in case of earthquake, buildings may be slightly damaged but do not collapse; earthquake should not destroy human lives. The crux of working on building security is first of all the awareness of the risk, then the personal and common responsibility and finally the practical action.

Do we ask the right questions about the seismic risk? We are not aware of the real level of risk, or we easily forget it. This is a cultural problem. Italy is one of the earthquake most prone Countries in Europe. In Italy there are many historic villages and ancient cities that make Italy such a valuable Country. Therefore the Country is vulnerable to seismic actions: 80% of the buildings were built before any seismic classification. It is estimated that most of the buildings need seismic retrofitting. If we do not do anything, the scenario will always be like L’Aquila, Amatrice and Emilia, despite the existence of safety techniques.

We need a radical change of mindset and responsibility. Before acting on buildings, we need to change our way of thinking. Let’s get rid of the lazy attitude of fatalism. Let’s become aware of the need of prevention and let’s start considering new safety standards.

“Earthquake Warning”.  In California, people must expose a sign to inform of the high seismic vulnerability of a building:

Earthquake is not a matter of Luck

Italy is at the forefront of structural recovery technologies. Consolidation is a recent science and it is our responsibility to network and disseminate knowledge in schools and through scientific publications.

Action is the last decisive step. We have to claim seismic vulnerability tests of our buildings. The engineer, like a doctor, will survey the building, process results, prescribe more appropriate analysis and finally get a diagnosis. The more specific the diagnosis is, the more accurate the seismic intervention will be.”

Alessandra Marini, with the University of Bergamo and Brescia, studies innovative solutions to reduce the seismic vulnerability and the environmental impact of existing buildings. Talking about earthquakes, we cannot rely on luck, we can and we must do something. We can secure our houses. This is a practical and good way to take care of us, our children and our houses. Hope to hear our grandchildren saying: “No, really grandpa?! I can’t believe houses fell because of earthquakes!”.

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