SHELTER Project: Designing an innovative solution for earthquake resilience and survival
Authors: Joao Gomes Ferreira, Rita Moura, Ana Margarida Ferreira, Vasco Milne, Eduardo Goncalves, Diamantino Abreu, Luís Guerreiro
Abstract: Severe earthquakes striking urban areas usually have catastrophic effects, and this risk is particularly acute in cities with more vulnerable buildings located in seismic-prone regions. The ideal solution to overcome this problem is to strengthen (or, in extreme situations, demolish) all vulnerable buildings located in seismic zones to ensure their safety and, thus, the safety of their users. However, this global approach is unfeasible because most owners need to be aware of the problem or have the financial capacity to implement such a solution. In this context, a project was developed entitled SHELTER – “Structural Hyper-resisting Element for Life-Threatening Earthquake Risk”, aiming at finding a viable solution to save human lives in severe seismic events, even when structural collapse occurs.The solution consists of installing a safety “capsule”, i.e., creating a located and structurally robust reinforcement of an accessible zone of the apartment/office where users can be safely protected.Four key aspects had to be addressed to make this concept effective: (i) the users had to be alerted in due time to get into the shelter before the violent shaking started; (ii) the capsule had to resist the actions caused by the building collapse without significant deformations; (iii) people had to survive during the building collapse, and (iv) people had to survive during the time entrapped within the capsule until the rescue teams arrival.This paper focuses on the design of the systems addressing survival during both the building collapse and the entrapped period.The survival during building collapse was based on safety seats, designed within the scope of the SHELTER project, provided with a shock absorber system constituted by a damper and elastic springs. These safety seats can strongly attenuate the peak accelerations that the shelter undergoes due to impacts, highly increasing survival chances.To ensure survival during the entrapped period, fundamental life-supporting needs were first listed: hydration, nutrition, dejection, breathing, SOS emission, thermal comfort, and psychological comfort. These needs were then fulfilled with the corresponding supporting systems or goods, which must be installed in the lifesaving capsule.
Keywords: Design, Civil Engineering, Shelter, Earthquake Risk, Earthquake Resilience, Survival
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