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Earthquake Resilience Is Good Economics, Sound Business, Responsible Public Policy, Say Experts in New Webinar Series

·7 min read

"The Resilience Advantage" Explores Preventing Earthquakes from Being Disasters

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A coalition of leading business organizations will launch a monthly webinar series, "The Resilience Advantage," on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Speakers at a press conference at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 14, announcing a new year-long seismic resilience webinar series. At the podium is Evan Reis (USRC), Left to right behind Reis: Glenn Pomeroy (CEA), Maria Salinas (LA Area Chamber of Commerce), Fiona Ma (State Treasurer), Aaron Gross (City of Los Angeles), Tracy Hernandez (Biz Fed), Stephen Cheung (LAEDC) and Ali Sahabi (Optimum Seismic,Inc).
Speakers at a press conference at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 14, announcing a new year-long seismic resilience webinar series. At the podium is Evan Reis (USRC), Left to right behind Reis: Glenn Pomeroy (CEA), Maria Salinas (LA Area Chamber of Commerce), Fiona Ma (State Treasurer), Aaron Gross (City of Los Angeles), Tracy Hernandez (Biz Fed), Stephen Cheung (LAEDC) and Ali Sahabi (Optimum Seismic,Inc).

Each webinar will include a 20-minute video featuring interviews with leading experts addressing earthquake resilience issues, challenges and accomplishments. Interviews will focus on how both existing and new buildings can be made safer by retrofitting or modern design to withstand the serious damage that can be caused by California's greatest natural hazard – earthquakes.

Interviewees in the first video episode include: Ron Mayes, SGH Engineering, San Francisco, & Co-Founder of US Resiliency Council; Jim Malley, Senior Principal, Degenkolb Engineers; Patrick Otellini, Project Manager, Swinerton Builders; Michelle Jones, Senior Principal, RIM Architects; and Sharyl Rabinovici, PhD, Director of Strategic Communications, US Resiliency Council.

Webinars will also feature live panel discussions surrounding the program's topic area by experts from around California. The panel discussions will be followed by an interactive period allowing audience members to raise specific questions to leaders in business, engineering, government, architecture and other fields.

The Resilience Advantage webinar series is sponsored by Optimum Seismic, Inc. in cooperation with Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles County Business Federation, and the U.S. Resiliency Council.

"We know that earthquakes can have devastating impacts on vulnerable buildings, people and our economy, but they don't have to be disasters," says U.S. Resiliency Council Executive Director Evan Reis, PE, SE, who hosts the video program. USRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving community resilience, one building at a time.

"These webinars will clearly show that investing in resilience is good economics, sound business, and responsible public policy," adds Reis. "We'll also show how resilience means good stewardship of our natural resources and the environment."

Key points to be covered in the first webinar episode include:

  • Science's growing understanding of earthquake hazards

  • Steps businesses and communities can take to reduce earthquake risks and losses

  • The importance of acting now to be resilient in the face of natural hazards

"There is so much at stake -- the very survival of California's economy and quality of life," says Optimum Seismic Co-Founder Ali Sahabi, a leader in earthquake retrofitting and the resilience movement. "These webinars can help businesses learn how to protect their investments, operations and employees, and make doing so part of their business plan. If they don't take earthquake threats seriously and act promptly, they risk building collapse, business failure, liability, bankruptcy and more. The bottom line is that the economic benefits of earthquake resilience are impossible --- and dangerous – to ignore."

"Business leaders understand the potentially serious economic impact of not being prepared for a disaster. Becoming more resilient is important, not only for major corporations but also for small businesses," says Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Maria S. Salinas. "We have seen from the last several months the impact of an unplanned emergency on our economy. Let's ensure businesses are prepared so that an earthquake doesn't create another challenging disaster in California."

Los Angeles County Business Federation Founding Chief Executive Officer Tracy Hernandez will serve as the moderator for the first webinar's panel discussion. "Preparation and resiliency have never been more key to our business community's survival," she states. "We must be resilient to ensure our buildings stand, our economy hums, and our employees are safe."

Hernandez, who leads a massive non-profit business alliance of some top business networks with 200 business associations, 450,000 businesses and 4 million employees in Southern California, has been involved in raising awareness of earthquake resilience issues for several years.

Stephen Cheung, Chief Operating Officer, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, underscores the need for businesses to learn more about earthquake resilience. "Many of our businesses here in Los Angeles remain unprepared for a major seismic event, such as the one we experienced in Northridge in 1994," he notes. The 6.7 magnitude quake left 60 people dead, displaced more than 50,000 and resulted in more than $50 billion dollars in damage.

"The pandemic has shown preparedness is vital to our communities and economy. We must act now to prepare before the "Big One" strikes," added Cheung.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 40 percent of businesses that close their doors as a result of disasters will never reopen. When a building collapses, an owner or lessee is left with no operating business and communities can be extensively damaged as workers lose their livelihoods. Recovery from these impacts can take years, if not decades. As seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, California's entire economy suffers when businesses both small and large cannot operate. Governments are also impacted when fewer revenues are generated to support vital services.

USC researchers estimated the eight-county region of Southern California could suffer property damage of $113 billion in a major earthquake, with additional business-related impacts of $68 billion or more. Recent estimates have put damages caused by a magnitude-7 earthquake on the Puente Hills fault running through downtown Los Angeles at more than $252 billion with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

More than 90 percent of buildings in California's urban areas are estimated to not comply with modern building codes.

In addition to the costs of physical damage, business interruption and lost market share caused by earthquakes, courts have determined property owners can be held legally liable for deaths and injuries occurring in their buildings if they are found negligent of maintaining a hazardous condition by not taking reasonable actions to safeguard their facilities.

Over the next year, The Resilience Advantage webinars will explore how improved resilience can safeguard California's businesses and communities in the face of natural hazards such as earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and pandemics.

Nov. 18
The Resilience
Advantage
9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Dec. 9

The Resilience
Advantage in Action
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Jan. 21
The Advantage of
Resilient Building Design
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Feb. 17
The Advantage of
Resilient Communities
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Commercial and industrial building owners and managers, architects, attorneys, business owners, builders, community leaders, engineers, lenders, and many others are expected to benefit from the information presented in The Resilience Advantage webinars.

To register for all of the complimentary The Resilience Advantage webinars visit https://www.optimumseismic.com/the-resilience-advantage/. For additional information call Optimum Seismic at 323-605-0312.

About Optimum Seismic, Inc.

The Optimum Seismic team has been making California cities safer since 1984 by providing full-service earthquake engineering , steel fabrication and construction services for multifamily residential, commercial and industrial buildings. With more than 3,500 earthquake retrofit and renovation projects completed, Optimum Seismic's work includes soft-story multifamily apartments, unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and tilt-up, non-ductile concrete and steel moment frame buildings. For information, contact Optimum Seismic at (833)-978-7664 or visit optimumseismic.com.

About Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (LAACC)

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in the Los Angeles region. The Chamber's mission is to design and advance opportunities and solutions for a thriving regional economy that is inclusive and globally competitive. Founded in 1888, the Chamber is the oldest and largest business association in the region. Its member companies work together to promote a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.

About Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)

Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) is advancing opportunity and prosperity for all. This is achieved via collaborative economic development leadership, objective economic research and analysis, strategic assistance to business, education and government partners, and targeted public policy. LAEDC was established in 1981 as a private, non-profit, public benefit corporation. More info at https://laedc.org/.

About Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed)

With more than 200 business organizations representing 450,000 employers with 4 million employees throughout L.A. County, BizFed is a massive, diverse grassroots alliance that advocates for policies and projects that strengthen the regional economy. Leveraging power in numbers, BizFed explores all sides of critical issues and takes action to make a difference for business growth, job creation, and economic vitality in Southern California. More information can be found at https://bizfedlacounty.org/.

Contact: Tom Robinson, Optimum Seismic, (562) 237-1629, trobinson@optimumseismic.com

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SOURCE Optimum Seismic