This piece was originally published in the May 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Photo caption: This surface-mounted electrical power panel was undamaged by the 2010 Mw 7.2 earthquake in Haiti, even though the wall and structural columns were severely damaged. Photo courtesy of Schneider Electric
Mike Stone, West Coast Field Representative, NEMA
Similar to the NEMA guides on evaluating water-, fire-, and heat-damaged electrical equipment, a new guide on evaluating earthquake-damaged electrical equipment is anticipated to be published later this year. Evaluating Earthquake-Damaged Electrical Equipment will help assessment personnel to recognize damage to electrical installations after a serious seismic event.
As is the case in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, earthquake damage assessment personnel are sent out to determine the extent of damage as soon as safety allows. These safety evaluators typically have limited time to make their determinations. They are often more focused on obvious structural collapse, and sometimes the safety of other building systems can be overlooked. NEMA’s document will help evaluators to see that safety has not been compromised.
Unlike weather-related disasters and wildfires, there is no earthquake season. Devastating earthquakes can and do strike at any time with no warning. NEMA’s new document will be one more valuable tool that can be used to ensure a community’s resilient and successful recovery from disaster.