Preparing Your Business for Growing Earthquake Risks

Earthquakes are on the rise in many parts of the U.S.—and not just in areas where seismic activity is considered normal.

In recent years, some historically calm areas have seen unnerving upturns in seismic activity. If your business is in an area that is becoming or has always been prone to earthquakes, it’s important to prepare for quick recovery from potential disasters.

Today’s post explores three locations where earthquake numbers have been rapidly trending upward. Make sure to read to the bottom of this post where we also provide some related earthquake preparedness articles.

1) Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, earthquakes have become eerily frequent according to Oklahoma City’s KOCO news. One week in February 2014 alone saw more than 150 quakes with a magnitude greater than 2.5. The average before 2009 for 3.0+ quakes was just three, but it’s risen rapidly to 40 per year.

And the quakes aren’t all localized. In November 2011, a 5.7 magnitude quake near Prague damaged a highway, destroyed 14 homes and was felt as far as 800 miles away. Many scientists speculate that the 5.7 quake and others may be linked to waste-water injection wells.

2) Texas
Like Oklahoma, many parts of Texas have also seen sudden jumps in earthquake activity. Between 1987 and 2007, Texas saw just 100 recorded quakes with a 2.0 or greater magnitude. In the last eight years, however, the state has already recorded more than two hundred 2.0 or greater quakes. And the rumblings are affecting highly populated areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth.

3) Alaska
In 2014, Alaska experienced more than 40,000 earthquakes, making it a record year. Since most of the quakes were in the two or three magnitude range (and many of them aftershocks), most of them weren’t felt. But the sheer number of quakes is still puzzling to scientists.

Other States
While the states above have seen some of the most dramatic shifts in activity, other states have also seen increases in activity. The Plainfield area in Connecticut saw 11 small (2.0 magnitude or less) tremors in a two-week period in January 2015. Only one of the quakes was above a 3.0 magnitude, but the number of events surprised officials and residents who aren’t used to such frequent tremors.

Colorado and Ohio have also seen jumps. And risks in some states, such as California, Washington and Oregon are consistently high.  

Are You Prepared?
If your business is located in a new or historically earthquake-prone area, disaster preparation is important. Keep in mind that even the shaking of a minor earthquake could lead to foundation issues, a broken pipe and other headaches that can impact short-term operations. And preparedness for a significant event could make the difference between quickly reopening doors or struggling for weeks to line up help and repair damaged buildings and equipment. So if you don’t have an existing disaster recovery plan, now is a good time to get started.

Other Helpful Earthquake Resources: