Earthquake Preparedness Guide

Earthquakes around the world are both frequent and costly. Being prepared can dramatically change the outcome. Are you prepared? Use this guide to help you understand your Earthquake risks and to develop plans for mitigating Earthquake damage.

Understand Earthquake Exposure

  • Understand site specific characteristics and identify potential magnitude/intensity at your location (past events, liquefaction, proximity to faults, geotechnical report, earthquake maps etc.) (Note: In US, this geotechnical information can be obtained from your local building department.)
  • Understand earthquake hazards including; shake damage, fire, liquid/chemical/gas release, and interruption to services.
  • Understand how earthquake hazards could impact your operation by conducting an earthquake hazard and operability study (HAZOP) focused on life safety, structural/non-structural components, equipment, and business interruption.

 Implement Earthquake Mitigation

  • Develop/train an Earthquake Emergency Response Team to initiate pre-Earthquake and post-Earthquake recovery actions.
  • Develop plans for protecting and maintaining fire protection systems in service.
  • Develop business continuity plans for rapidly resuming operations after an earthquake including sourcing restoration / remediation companies/ critical spare parts inventory.
  • Establish a list of contractors to aid in Earthquake preparedness and recovery. Place contractors on alert.
  • Develop procedures for safe shutdown of utilities and operations (electricity, gas, flammable liquids operations, etc.)
  • Provide anchorage, clearance, and flexibility for machinery and equipment.
  • Provide bracing, clearance, and flexibility for liquid filled piping systems including domestic water, fire protection water, other liquids and gases.
  • Provide Earthquake Actuated Automatic Seismic Shutoff Valves for flammable gas systems and flammable liquid dispensing systems.

Develop Post-Earthquake Procedures and Precautions

  • Be aware of after-shocks, conduct safety evaluation before entering property. Stay aware of potential site hazards including live electrical wires, broken glass and sharp metals, leaking fuel gases or flammable liquids, damaged building features or contents that could shift or collapse.
  • Notify relevant authorities and notify Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.
  • Notify relevant contractors involved with resuming building operations.
  • Perform a post-earthquake assessment of facility to ensure structural integrity and determine adequate restoration plans.
  • Ensure all fire protection systems are functional and in service. Contact fire contractor if required.
  • Verify integrity of all gas/chemical piping systems and ensure all automatic shutoff valves have actuated. If your facility does not have automatic shut off units, terminate the supply manually.

Create an Earthquake Emergency Response Plan (EERP)

  • Formalize the pre- and post-earthquake procedures and precautions into a written EERP.
  • Form an earthquake response team, assign a leader, and assign specific tasks to members of the team.
  • Document all hazardous operation shut down procedures in the EERP.
  • Give authorization for the earthquake response team to initiate equipment or process shutdowns.
  • Provide external/internal earthquake related training as required.
  • Conduct drills of the EERP utilizing real-life simulation or computer simulation.
  • Validate the EERP annually. Adjust/update as needed.

Swiss Re CatNet® Natural Hazard Modelling Online

Earthquake and other natural hazards exposure profiles for any location worldwide are available through Swiss Re's CatNet® online tool.