BAKERSFIELD,Calif — Paul Earle, seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey or USGS, says that the damage that is seen in Ridgecrest could have been worse if it hit in a different area.
“If this happened in a more highly populated area the damages to infrastructure, the potential for injuries, and even deaths would go up substantially,” said Earle.
Earle says that California overall is doing a decent job going through and retrofitting buildings, but they can always do better by finding buildings that are most vulnerable and make them more resistant.
“We cannot predict an earthquake, but we can tell you that Bakersfield is in a region that we expect sometime in the future to have significant shaking,” Earle said.
Earle says that this past earthquake should be a call to action for the people and officials of Bakersfield, to ensure that they are prepared if and when an earthquake were to hit closer to the city.
Ali Annan, assistant director of Public works of Kern County says that California's building codes are updated every three years as they learn from previous earthquakes.
“We try to protect individuals living infrastructures to a certain extent,” said Annan. “If we get a bigger earthquake, then probably like an eight or nine we could see severe damage to the structure.”
Annan says that if your home or if any structure that you see has a crack that is more than a quarter of an inch that is something that needs to be expected by personnel.
“Building codes are designed to protect and ensure that a structure can withstand certain earthquakes and so that it is strong enough that it doesn’t collapse during a earthquake or windstorm,” Annan said.
Annan adds that one of their concerns are older buildings and encourages the community that if they see an unsafe or potentially dangerous building to make them aware of it.
“Buildings from the 70's and 60's those are what we call existing buildings and may not be up to the current code,” Annan said. “The law does not allow us to go back to those buildings and retrofit them.”