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Disaster Preparedness

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For week three of Building Safety Month, we'll learn about preparing our communities and homes in the event of a disaster.

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Planning for devastating events helps protect our health and safety during a disaster. Here’s how you, your family and community can help to support a faster recovery after a disaster:

Prepare Your Family

Below are some resources to help prepare your family and protect your home from natural disasters. 

Your actions can ensure that no matter what life brings, you and your community will be resilient.

Build to the Latest Codes

One of the best ways for communities to prepare for disasters is to build to the most modern building codes. By getting the required permits for your project, you are ensuring you or your contractor are building to the latest code.

Learn more about the basics of building codes, permits, and code enforcement.

Thinking about a home project? Start with the resources from week 1 of Building Safety Month.

Earthquake Preparedness

Portland and the surrounding communities are located in a seismically active region. 

Earthquakes are a natural occurrence caused by the constant motion of the Earth’s crust. This motion creates the buildup of pressure along faults which is released in the form of an earthquake. Earthquakes are sudden and without warning.

Strong ground shaking can cause severe damage to buildings, cracking walls, toppling chimneys or even shifting buildings off their foundation. Older buildings and homes are especially at risk because they often lack adequate anchorage to their foundation and were not designed to resist the shaking and movement expected from earthquakes today.

Identifying potential hazards ahead of time, strengthening homes, buildings and utilities can reduce damage and the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake.

The City of Portland, Bureau of Development Services has a program to help you make your home more secure in our next earthquake. Residential Seismic Strengthening Methods to Reduce Potential Earthquake Damage.

In this guide you'll learn about:

  • Common construction problems.
  • How to conduct your own home survey.
  • Prepare your seismic retrofit plans and get a building permit.
  • How to bolt your home to its foundation.
  • How to strengthen wood walls.
  • A seismic question and answer section.