While there are plenty of catastrophes that schools can avoid thanks to preventive maintenance, their buildings are not indestructible, especially when faced with natural disasters. These events have the potential to cause serious damage on schools, ranging from tornadoes to tropical storms.
One such natural threat is an earthquake, whose severe shaking could leave schools in ruin. It's not possible to stop seismic activity, but maintenance staff members can take certain precautions to ensure their buildings are ready to endure anything earthquakes may throw their way, potentially reducing the amount of damage that these natural disasters could do and keeping occupants safe.
Secure fixtures and equipment
As maintenance teams examine their schools, they should also try to identify possible hazards throughout their buildings that could make the aftermath of earthquakes worse than it had to be. The California Department of Social Services explained that to be prepared for these disasters, you and your staff should go through your buildings and secure items that could come crashing down, harming both your school and the people inside it.
To accomplish this task, you should fasten sizeable furniture and equipment, such as bookshelves and water heaters, to either the wall or the floor. This can be done using everything from studs, screws, nails and even galvanized tape. At the same time, you will want to address portable items like pianos and media carts, setting up storage methods that will keep them from flying all over the place as soon as the first shock waves start shaking things up in your school.
Check your structures for vulnerabilities
In addition to taking care of fixtures and other large paraphernalia that you have in your school, you and your crew need to take a look at the buildings themselves to see if they are structurally sound and have the best odds of outlasting a quake. FEMA recommended that maintenance staffs thoroughly inspect their schools, especially if they are more than a couple of decades old, identifying any points of weakness that may come from outdated structural designs.
The agency advised that you find out if your school was built before the most recent rounds of building codes pertaining to seismic provisions. If it was, then you will want to consult all of the building codes, including those on the local level, to guarantee everything - both structural and nonstructural parts of your school - is in line with these regulations. This way, you can make corrective maintenance modifications that will strengthen your building and increase the likelihood of surviving an earthquake relatively unscathed.