Borough offers free classes on constructing safe homes, buildings

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Management and FEMA have coordinated a series of classes discussing the importance of constructing safe homes and buildings that can withstand a seismic event. The free classes aim to teach guidelines to design and construct earthquake resistant residential structures.

The first class will discuss the results of recent loss investigations, as well as current research to identify above-code measures and associated costs due to damage. The following class will give a simplified seismic assessment and retrofit guidelines for detached, single family and wood frame dwellings. The final class of the series will focus on preparing a home to reduce earthquake damage.

Kate Janoski with the borough's Emergency Management Department says the classes provide educational tools to help prevent damage in Alaska's unpredictable seismic climate.

"This doesn't become an emergency until the event actually happens, and then people realize 'Oh, I need to make sure I know what I'm doing', or this is a reality, and it doesn't happen. And earthquakes are unpredictable, especially the earthquakes we have in our area. A little tremor here and there and we're fine, but when a big quake happens like in Anchorage and you feel it up here, it becomes more of an reality," she said.

Classes run from Tuesday December 11 through Thursday the 13. More information on how to register for these classes, can be found on the Borough website or by calling 459-1220.