Source: Degenkolb Associates
The contents of your building can be damaged or can cause damage in earthquakes. They may injure your building occupants or block emergency exits; it can be expensive to repair and replace items that are broken. You should be concerned about contents, not only to protect your property but also to guard against deaths or injuries.
Larger imagePallets of canned goods stored in this building fell off the shelves during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and pushed out the concrete wall of this Hollister warehouse.
Source: California Seismic Safety Commission
Earthquake shaking may cause light fixtures and bookshelves to fall, and other large items to topple or move across the floor (see other pages). Equipment may be disabled or severely damaged. It may take considerable time and money to replace or repair computers, vital records, and specialized technical equipment. Heavy crates or boxes stacked high, such as those in warehouses or discount stores, can fall on tenants, employees, or customers.
Larger imageThe storage rack collapsed in this warehouse-style retail store during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Heavy items such as the sofa in the center of the photo crashed to the ground and could have injured employees and shoppers.
Source: Bill McKevitt, EERI
How to Identify
Look around your building for items that could fall or move during earthquakes. Could your file cabinets fly open, allowing the contents to scatter on the floor? Could unanchored storage or display shelves topple or lose their contents?