The August 24 earthquake that hit Napa, Calif., and the surrounding area, made it clear that there's still work to be done to ensure that unreinforced masonry buildings are safe during a seismic event.
According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, the 6.0 earthquake "seriously damaged more than 170 structures and injured more than 200 people." A 1986 law required all local governments in the area to inventory unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings and establish a plan to make them safer. But as article authors Pete Carey and Matthias Gafni point out, while progress is being made, it's taking a long time, and planned retrofits aren't always enough to prevent serious injury.
This 2006 report from the Seismic Safety Commission documents progress.
Read More of the San Jose Mercury News article.