PULLMAN Wash. — As Washington residents are recovering from today’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake, many are left wondering why so many Puget Sound buildings went undamaged. And if things had been worse, how well prepared are communities to deal with mass destruction or interruption of food and medical supplies.

Ken Carper, Washington State University professor of architecture, teaches courses in seismic design principles that reduce the amount of damage a building might sustain in an earthquake. He says it is fortunate that a lot of Seattle architects took his course, or others like it. “The minimal amount of damage can be attributed to good design practices that have been put in place.” Carper is also an internationally recognized expert in forensic engineering, a science that examines the reasons for building failures.

Disaster preparedness expert Steven Stehr, WSU assistant professor of political science, says the community likely will react in one of two ways. The earthquake will be a wakeup call and residents will redouble their disaster preparation efforts. Or, people will assume they’ve already been hit by the big one and not bother with extra preliminary precaution. However, even though the rumbling has stopped, there still are aftermath dangers.

For more information, contact Stehr at 509/335.2264, stehr@wsu.edu or Carper at 509/335.1229, kcarper@arch.wsu.edu.

Note: Satellite uplink is available from Pullman. Contact Hugh Imhof.

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