Pandemics, Earthquakes and Windstorms: Some Thoughts on the Probability of a Compound Disaster

With the growing danger of natural disasters, the race is on to expand access to programs that safeguard lives from the human-made danger of poorly built housing. With the common mission of building safer, stronger structures, Build Change and Simpson Strong-Tie have partnered for the Simpson Strong-Tie® Fellowship for Engineering Excellence program. This year’s fellow is Build Change Engineering & Design Services Director Tim Hart, SE. As with our previous fellows, Hart is documenting his journey with the program on the Simpson Strong-Tie Structural Engineering blog.

One of my colleagues asked me an interesting question recently: “What if there was an earthquake in the middle of this pandemic?” His question regarded how buildings would be inspected and tagged after an earthquake, since that would require inspectors to go inside buildings to look for damage. I responded to him in that context, saying that inspectors will likely already have personal protective equipment (PPE) and will already be trained to act safely and responsibly. However, his question led me to think about the larger implications of his question, beyond just the logistics of post-earthquake building inspections.

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