It's funny (weird funny not ha ha) how 'natural disasters" can really make us think about the safety of our buildings that we live and work in. With the earthquake this week and now a hurricane stalking us, it seems like everyone is thinking about building safety and stability. I have had numerous conversations, many precipitated by the previous blog post, regarding the safety of structures in our community.
I say it is funny, because generally this is completely taken for granted, and is assumed as an absolute. Talking about lateral loads and shear and such is a quick ticket to people changing the topic or escaping the conversation. It doesn't even hurt my feelings, becasue it is just the way things are.
Having said that, we obsess relentlessly about the safety of our cars, our schools, workplaces, etc. but not our buildings. Why is this? We feel this way because generally, our buildings protect us and keep us safe. As Irene makes her presence felt this weekend, we will sit inside, knowing that is the best place to be. May you all be safe, and come out of it in one piece. We can always design and build a new building...harder to do that with family and friends.
If you feel like some reading as the storm passes over, and if you like to scare the crap out of yourself...check out the listing of structural collapses on Wikipedia. It shows we are still human and don't get it right every time.