A new paradigm in seismic safety and disaster preparation

C. McGlynn, H. Zhang, C. Zhu
Rowan University,
United States

Keywords: seismic safety, disaster preparation and mitigation


The Shaker Shield is a portable, inexpensive, seismic hazard and kinetic energy risk reduction system comprised of an instantly deployable impact shield with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). This system is supported through the Cospas-Sarsat 406/121.5 MHZ network which offers a worldwide system of automatically activated emergency notification that is detectable by satellite anywhere in the world. It will also have additional features including a flashing light and handles. The Shield offers a new paradigm in disaster protection. It is designed specifically for potentially lethal events that offer minimum preparation time. It is a cost-effective and portable solution to protect individuals from falling debris in earthquakes. The Shield is a portable system designed to protect people from being crushed or badly injured by structural failure during seismic events. It will also be able to save lives during flash flood events and we hope to demonstrate ballistic resistance with additional funding and fabric testing. The Shaker Shield could offer substantial protection during these disasters and would be far more affordable than retrofitting buildings. It would also offer hope to those unable to self-evacuate from a flash flood event. The Shield is composed of high-strength proprietary, laminated urethane fabric and allows rapid deployment to its full capacity in a time frame of under 12 seconds for seismic and flooding hazard mitigation. Inflated units are connected following specifically designed series and parallel connections to prevent partial deflection-induced collapse and failure of the shield. Computational predication and experimental testing of lab-scale shield components with various geometries and loading scenarios show comparable deformation and stress responses. The intellectual merit of the project stems from its (a) Creative dual-functional approach that addresses inhabitant-oriented protection from seismic and flooding hazards, (b) Application of advanced computational technologies in shield integrity and performance assessment, (c) High flexibility in accommodating various constructions types and occupancy densities with minimum investment, and (d) High potential to create new knowledge regarding the optimal design and fabrication of inflatable structures for multi-hazard mitigation. By revealing correlations between physical properties and system responses, this technology will yield insights into the complexities of multi-hazard mitigation and fill in existing blanks in the hazard mitigation and emergency management market. Unlike seismically engineered retrofit building solutions that are capital intensive, technically complex, and take years to implement, the described Shield is portable, inexpensive, and could be widely distributed. The potential market opportunity for Shaker Shield is noteworthy in the United State alone due to the high populations in high seismic risk areas. The Shield presents an opportunity for interested parties to partner with Rowan University.