The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake will forever be embedded in the minds of those who experienced it, as well as those who participated in the cleanup of the quake. Team members of the Penhall Company from all over the country responded after this tragic event to help clear the wreckage caused by the collapse of the 880 Cypress Freeway. This collapse has been described as “the worst disaster of the quake” and many people tragically lost their lives as a result. The timing of this quake is thought to have saved the lives of many, since it occurred during the third game of the 1989 World Series. If not for this event it is estimated that there would have been many more people on the road, especially on the Cypress Freeway. After the quake, Penhall Company employees worked tirelessly for weeks to clear the area where the Cypress Street ramp of Interstate 880 once stood. Many of our employees saw first hand the horrendous impact that earthquakes can have through their aid in the recovery of victims. These experiences explain in part why we as a company are so passionate about the seismic retrofit process.
Less than five years after Loma Prieta, Penhall employees responded to the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. This 6.7 magnitude quake shook the San Fernando Valley early in the morning on January 17th and was felt as far out as Las Vegas. It is estimated that over 20 billion dollars worth of damage was done, as a result of the commercial, residential buildings and freeway ramps that crumbled. Many of the responding staff were locals that were personally affected by the quake. Both of these earthquakes changed the lives of both the affected citizens and the Penhall team. So it is with this knowledge that we must commit ourselves to preparing properly in the event of another major earthquake.
Penhall Company Seismic Services offers earthquake retrofitting that is dedicated to saving lives, because ultimately we know that the high quality seismic retrofitting of buildings affects us all. Elizabeth Wilson, Penhall’s Director of Seismic Services, often says that “we retrofit with a purpose”. We have seen first hand the devastation of these quakes and we are driven by our dedication to excellence. Penhall Company continues to holds itself to a higher standard; from our quality control measures to our customer service, we value integrity in business and safety first.
Tragedies such as those experienced during the Loma Prieta and Northridge Earthquake can be avoided by being proactive and choosing to make your building compliant to the seismic ordinances in your city. Although it is painful to think about these past earthquakes and the loss that many people experienced, it serves as a necessary reminder. We are reminded of the importance of using today’s construction advances to promote the safety of property and most importantly life.