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Utah DEM and Salt Lake City Receive Award in Excellence from Seismic Policy Council

Wednesday May 1, 2019

The Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) honored employees of Utah DPS and Salt Lake City Emergency Management for a mitigation program they created to help homeowners with seismic retrofits on homes at extreme risk for earthquakes.

Brad Bartholomew, mitigation section manager from the DPS Division of Emergency Management, and Audrey Pierce, manager of Salt Lake City’s Fix the Bricks program, jointly received an Award in Excellence for Mitigation Efforts at WSSPC’s annual meeting on April 26 in Salt Lake City.

Brad Bartholomew (left) and Audrey Pierce received a recent award for their work to create the Fix the Bricks program for Salt Lake City homeowners in unreinforced masonry homes.

Salt Lake City’s Fix the Bricks program (FAQ page) facilitates seismic improvements for city residents who live in unreinforced masonry homes. Unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and homes create the greatest risk for the Salt Lake Valley in the expected worst-case scenario Utah earthquake. Safer homes save lives by reducing the number of deaths, injured and trapped after an earthquake.

Salt Lake City applies for a pre-disaster mitigation grant from FEMA every year to fund the program. Our Division of Emergency Management produced the original guide for retrofitting URMs, which is the backbone document of Fix the Bricks. The document, available here, has since been updated through a partnership between the Utah Seismic Safety Commission and the Structural Engineers Association of Utah. The city intends this project to continue for several years and currently has a waiting list of applicants.

The State Hazard Mitigation Plan calls on Utah to create a statewide program similar to Fix the Bricks.

WSSPC’s mission is is to develop seismic policies and share information to promote programs intended to reduce earthquake-related losses. Members include Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Yukon.

Joe Dougherty is the public information officer for our Division of Emergency Management.


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