Non-structural vulnerability assessment of buildings and advice on mitigation

You can reduce your own vulnerability to becoming a casualty in a major earthquake by making some simple and cheap changes. It is not rocket science, mostly common sense. You should remember that significant numbers of casualties occur from objects falling or toppling within the home, office or public buildings.

If you review the contents in your home and place of work and where they are within each room, your overall vulnerability and that of your family or can be reduced substantially. This has the benefit of reducing the number and severity of casualties, decreasing avoidable internal damage to your home or place of work, and increasing the speed by which your community returns to normality. The stronger the earthquake, the greater is the damage that is likely to occur both to buildings and to the people inside. Even small objects can be thrown across a room in a major earthquake and can cause injuries. Heavier objects, like a TV screen or a large vase, can become lethal objects. About 20% of injuries in an earthquake arise from broken glass and mirrors. Managing where you have glass and mirrors in the home or office can have a huge impact on your safety and that of your family, children, and colleagues.

You do not have to rely on others to reduce your vulnerability.


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There are three simple steps you can take to put yourself more in control of your own safety and that of your family and colleagues:

  • 1 Learn what steps you need to take to reduce your vulnerability.
  • 2 Prepare your earthquake kits.
  • 3 Prepare and know your earthquake contingency plan.

If you are an employer you have a responsibility for the safety of your personnel.



"CEGS have known of Reynolds International Ltd, previously Reynolds Geo-Sciences Ltd, since the mid-1990s and have utilised their services over the years for specific surveying in the former underground coal and iron ore fields of West Cumbria. As a lead consultant, we have used Reynolds International to successfully locate and define both the underground workings and the mine entries that pose a hazard to the built environment, especially shafts in the iron ore workings. Additionally, we have also enrolled on the CPD training courses that are organised by Professor John Reynolds and these provide an invaluable update to our professional skills. We will continue to use Reynolds International as our preferred specialist Geophysical consultancy because of the consistent high professional standards that are applied to every project."

Dennis R. E. Dickins, CEGS, Cumbria

"The British Embassy, Bucharest, has been working with Professor John Reynolds, of Reynolds International Ltd, since 2008 in order to ensure that the Embassy’s earthquake and emergency planning is up to date; and that all staff, dependents and the British community, for which the Embassy has a responsibility, are briefed on the causes, the preparations and the relevant actions in the event of an earthquake. Professors Reynolds’s knowledge, advice and guidance has been invaluable in ensuring that the embassy’s plan is as up to date and in an as workable format as possible. His knowledge is second to none and his guidance is clear concise and in an understandable format."

B A Davidson – HM Consul, Head of Corporate Services, Bucharest, Romania

"The earthquake preparedness training course provided by Professor John M. Reynolds for BAT Romania’ employees during 3 days in February this year was a well designed and tailored course given the high seismic hazard area where Romania is located. The main aim of the course was to provide our employees with necessary information to help them to reduce their own vulnerability at work, in their out-of-work activities and in their family lives. I was very pleased with the results of the training and, most importantly, I have received very positive feedback from participants. I recommend this course for other commercial organizations in Romania or abroad."

Eugen Stan, Business Security Manager