SEAOSC sends recon team to Mexico City
In response to the devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Mexico City on Sept. 19, the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) assembled a team to conduct earthquake reconnaissance in the affected areas. A long-time partner sharing the same values as the International Code Council (ICC), SEAOSC is a member-centric organization with a mission to promote advancements in structural engineering for the betterment of its members, the industry and the community at large. The SEAOSC’s Safer Cities Reconnaissance Team traveled from Oct. 10-15 with the goals to conduct building evaluations, assess community resiliency and perform 360-degree camera surveys.
Led by Daniel Zepeda, SE, of Degenkolb and chair of SEAOSC’s Existing Buildings Committee, the team was comprised of six members of the association, each with needed expertise, a passion for engineering and a commitment to making a difference. They included SEAOSC Treasurer Ken O’Dell, SE, of MHP; Martin Hudson, PhD, GE, of AMEC Foster Wheeler; Dion Marriott, PhD, PE, of Holmes Structures; Russell McLellan, PE, of SGH; and Raul Jimenez, PE, of Brandow & Johnston. The team was not only focused on learning lessons from the recent earthquake and bringing back information which could serve to educate the industry and our communities to save lives and reduce damage, but also on providing structural engineering advice to community members seeking it after the natural disaster turned their lives upside down.
Throughout the trip, the team documented and reflected upon the experience with daily blog posts, providing updates and photos through the SEAOSC website and social media platforms. The team plans to compile all the collected data and observations and analyze them for methods to improve the resiliency of communities. Team members also intend to remain in contact with some of the various citizens of Mexico City and the surrounding communities that they connected with during their trip to keep track of the continued recovery efforts.
Upon reflecting on the trip, team leader Daniel Zepeda said, “This was a very successful trip and I’m happy that SEAOSC was able to support it. We plan to use our findings to improve the resiliency of our communities and use the knowledge to better prepare our cities.”
Jeff Ellis, SE, director of codes and compliance for Simpson Strong-Tie and SEAOSC immediate past president, added, “SEAOSC is proud to have sent such a well-qualified team to Mexico after the earthquake to document recent examples of existing and retrofitted building performance, evaluate community recovery and resilience, and take 360-degree video so they may better share their observations; all which will help us more effectively prepare for and respond to the next big earthquake.”
The team will present its findings at the SEAOSC Strengthening Our Cities Summit on Nov. 7-8 in Los Angeles, Calif.