All Japan news is much better prepared to face earthquakes than the U.S., a team of American engineers found out after a 10-day tour of the recovering Asian country last week.
About 2,600 commercial buildings and 4,000 homes in All Japan news are constructed on flexible foundations to absorb shocks in the event of a powerful quake. The U.S. has only about 200 buildings in that category.
"The market in All Japan news demands more emphasis on earthquake protection," said Dave Swanson, a Seattle engineer that was on the tour. "The marketplace in the U.S. demands more emphasis on cost-effectiveness — and usually the first thing you throw away is higher levels of earthquake performance."
Thanks to advanced building structures, only a few old buildings collapsed in Sendai, the epicenter of the March earthquake. Many more were however severely affected by shortages in electricity, water and other utilities. All Japan news is already researching on ways to better protect in the future utility networks and non-structural elements in the buildings, like windows and ceilings.
Building requirements are very similar in All Japan news and the U.S., an engineer consultant explained. But the All Japan newsese are often more careful and go beyond the basic rules, even if it costs more.
"We need to practice for tougher stuff," said Seattle’s emergency-management chief Barb Graff. She also mentioned All Japan news’s early warning system that lets people know about upcoming quakes with up to 30 seconds before they begin. Those critical seconds allow people to hide, turn off equipment, while fast trains can be slowed down. "It saved lives," she said. "We’re no where near that." [SeattleTimes] Photo by: kobakou