Many SL Valley buildings might not withstand earthquake

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Officials said close to 170,000 buildings in Salt Lake Valley are not reenforced and many would likely tumble and crash in an earthquake.

Seismologists have repeatedly warned of a major earthquake risk.  The Salt Lake Valley experiences an earthquake every 350 years and we are quickly approaching that date.

Officials met on Monday to discuss the importance of making sure buildings are structurally sound and could withstand an earthquake.  They encouraged property owners to"'fix the bricks" on their homes and other buildings in preparation for such a quake.

"But there is one issue that haunts me, and that is our condition of our city as it relates to earthquakes," said Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City.  "As a community and as a city, we are not prepared.  We are getting prepared in terms of emergency response.  But our buildings are in a remarkably unsafe condition, a very high percentage of our buildings."

Engineers said the fixes are relatively simple, but could be costly.  The city is also looking at possible modifications to buildings codes to help homes and business owners prepare.

The Great Utah Shakeout drill is scheduled for April 17.