Last year, the City of Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring the retrofit of many buildings to increase earthquake safety, including nine USC residential buildings.
Following the mandate, orders to comply were sent to all building owners with the potential need to retrofit. Orders to comply were sent to nine USC buildings between May 2016 and February 2017. These residential buildings include Century, La Sabornne, Helena, Bel-Air, Twin Palms, Fairmont, Troyland, Manor and Stardust.
After receiving orders to comply, USC Capital Construction had two years to either submit proof of a previous retrofit or plans to retrofit or demolish the building.
USC Facilities has since acted on the orders to comply.
"Eight of the nine residential buildings have been completed and the ninth is due for retrofitting in the summer," says Emily Gersema, USC Media Relations Specialist, on behalf of USC Facilities Management Services.
Century Apartments was determined to no longer be an issue after USC Facilities helped identify that the parking structure at its base complied with the ordinance. La Sorbonne, Helena, Twin Palms, Fairmont, Manor, Stardust and Vista retrofits were completed over the summer of 2017. Troyland Apartments was retrofitted in the summer of 2016. Finally, Bel Air Apartments is scheduled for retrofitting in the summer of 2018.
"Since Los Angeles adopted new earthquake retrofit requirements two years ago, USC worked steadily to reinforce its residential buildings. The work is nearly complete. USC expects to reach full compliance for retrofitting residential buildings by the end of summer 2018," said Gersema.
While USC has now ensured its housing facilities are physically ready for an earthquake, many students on campus have never experienced a severe earthquake, and do not know what do to if an earthquake occurs.
Mia Jabara, a senior from Bethesda, Maryland, recounted her first earthquake at USC her freshman year as a small earthquake, but she was still scared by the experience.
"Everyone looked up from their work, shrugged, and continued to work, but I started crying because I have never experienced an earthquake and thought I was going to die," said Jabara."I have never had anyone tell me what to do in case of an earthquake, which makes me panic even more."
For students like Jabara who are worried about what to do if an earthquake occurs, the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), located on USC's campus, hosts the annual Great California Shakeout Earthquake Drill.
According to Jason Ballmann, Communications Manager for the SCEC, the drill helps prepare individuals for large earthquakes as they practice the "drop, cover, and hold on" technique.
This year, the drill is scheduled for October 19. Ballmann also recommends keeping a "go-kit" near your door, which includes important documents, chargers, basic first aid supplies, plenty of water and duplicate medication.