Earthquakes pose a big threat to cultural and heritage buildings.
Normally, historic buildings are more vulnerable to seismic actions than ordinary ones. So, also the artifacts that such buildings normally protect are subject to damages, due to the debris and, sometimes, to fires ignited by earthquakes.
In the April 6th 2009 earthquake in Aquila (Italy), there is at least one recorded case of fire ignited by the earthquake in a historical building (a church in the center of Aquila old town).
The most of the damages to cultural heritage in the Aquila earthquake are due to the collapse of the buildings and, for a lesser extent, to the mud that rains have brought the days following the earthquake.
One of the most important activities carried out during the first months after the earthquake has been a wide operation of provisional works outside and inside the buildings. Such works have been made in order to avoid further collapses. Thus, the special firefighter’s teams have been protecting walls, roofs and floors of the buildings against the damages posed by the rain.
Italian National Fire Corps (Corpo nazionale dei Vigili del Fuoco) has published a guideline concerning the techniques of making the provisional works (STOP – Shoring Templates and Operating Procedures for the support of buildings damaged by earthquakes).
The publication can be downloaded from this site:
Part 2 vademecum_en_part_2