A new interactive database launched in March takes us one step closer to knowing how safe our buildings are during an earthquake. The database — while not comprehensive — presents a list and map of potentially unreinforced masonry buildings, or URMs, throughout the state.
In addition to listing URMs, the website allows you to search by city, county and legislative district. You can also filter the database results by ownership (public or private), building use, construction materials, URM status, historic status, construction date, and vacancy and underutilization.
Bricks or even entire chunks of building materials from URMs are more likely to fall and hit people, cars or other buildings during an earthquake. An unreinforced masonry building is where there is no steel (such as rebar) to reinforce the load-bearing brick-and-mortar wall. Without reinforcement, the side-to-side motion that occurs during an earthquake could damage these types of walls.
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