Important EcoTech Documents

For additional information regarding our service lines, we have attached supplementary documents for your reference.

Heating Oil Tanks

Radon Mitigation

Seismic Retrofits

Septic Tanks & Cesspools

Earthquake Preparation Checklist

Formulation of an emergency plan is one of the most important undertakings that can be accomplished before a disaster ever happens. We have laid out different tiers of strategies for you and your family to consider and implement before a catastrophe strikes.

Laying down the foundation

One of the first steps is conceptualizing what you will need first.

Meeting Point

  • Where will you meet after a disaster?
  • At home, have a designated spot outside of the home where everyone meets.
  • If you and your partner are at work, where will and how will you meet-up?
  • If you have children, who will pick them up from school?
  • Do you have pets? What is the ideal way to bring them along?
  • If everyone is scattered apart, what is the long-term game plan of a final assembly place. Will it be the local school, police or fire department, your home?

After you have formulated meeting places, practice. The Red Cross suggest that you practice earthquake and fire drills twice a year using multiple escape routes. By coordinating the drills when you change your clocks, it becomes easier to remember and to be consistent with this life-saving technique.

Outside Resources

An out-of-state contact should be chosen and everyone in the home should have the number. After a disaster, local phone lines may be jammed or down, making a long-distance call may be easier. If all of your family members are scattered apart from each other, having that outside contact may be the vital life-line that your family needs to use to let everyone know that you each are safe.

Also, reaching out to neighbors for additional resources, may not only help you, but them as well. They may have important skills or items at their disposal which may come in extremely handy in a disaster. Also, would they be willing to look after a child until you could make it home, if you have pets, would they be able to assist them?

The State and Portland area Counties and Cities are each creating their own earthquake emergency outreach plan, please visit their websites for additional resources:

Preparing an Emergency Kit and Important Information Storage

After surviving a quake, you will still need to get through the next couple days, up to weeks and even months. Creating an essential survival kit with food, water and household items will allow you and your family the ability to carry through until vital services are up and running.

We’ve laid this out in different levels of what would be the most vital to survive through items that would make life easier when basic luxuries are not available.

Emergency Preparedness List                                First Aid Kit Supply List

Essential Family Records

Crucial paperwork containing contact information for your home, banking, medical and benefit institutions can be equally important when trying to rebuild after a disaster.  Make copies of all listed and store them in at least two safe places, even consider having an out-of-state relative keep copies for you.  Have a “go-box” that contains this crucial documentation and should be kept with or near the Main Home EssentialsEssential Family Documentation

Cascadia Subduction Zone

Cascadia Subduction Zone

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the forces that produce earthquakes in western Oregon are generated as the Juan de Fuca oceanic plate moves northeastward with respect to the North American continental plate at an average rate of about 1.5 inches per year along the Pacific Northwest coast. At the zone of contact between the North America and Pacific Plates, the Juan de Fuca Plate slides beneath the North American continent and sinks slowly into the earth’s mantle, producing the Cascade volcanoes and earthquakes. The zone of the shallow, east-dipping subducting plate is called the Cascadia Megathrust Fault.

Cascadia Subduction Zone

Cascadia Subduction Zone – Juan de Fuca Triple Junctions and Cascade Volcanic Arc

Studies have shown through geological evidence provided by buried soil layers, dead trees, and tsunami deposits that about every 500-600 years the upper portion of the shallow dipping Cascadia Fault ruptures offshore and releases this compression and causes great earthquakes of magnitude 8 to 9. (The information provided for this section was from a very fascinating read from the USGS entitled Earthquake Hazards and Lifelines in the Interstate 5 Urban Corridor.)

The consequence of a Subduction Zone earthquake are the largest earthquakes in the world, with a result of a minimum 8.5 magnitude quake.  The last “big one” from the CSZ was in January 1700, the average times between quakes are less than 300 years apart.  Needless to say, we are overdue.

We can expect numerous situations during and after a large-scale earthquake:

  • The earthquake could last minutes, followed by equally large aftershocks and Tsunamis
  • Utilities
    • No power for at least a month
    • Full scale utility service restoration (power, gas, water, sewer, communications, etc.) could take 3 to 12 months, if not longer.
    • No clean water
    • No access to sanitation
    • Broken waterlines
    • Fires due to leaking gas lines
  • Damaged roads and bridges destroyed
  • Thousands dead
  • Tens of thousands injured
  • Tens of thousands homeless

Reading this can seem bleak, but if we prepare and educate ourselves on how to live through and survive a “megathrust” quake, our chances of survival with multiply.

We have created an earthquake preparation page with guides and checklists on how you can prepare for yourself and your family during and after a major earthquake.

Additional websites with information regarding the earthquakes in the Northwest and the Cascadia Subduction Zone:

Seismic Retrofit Common Questions

 Why should I retrofit my home? 

  • To reduce the damage to your home, lessen the potential for injury and the loss of sentimental and monetary valuables.
  • Without retrofitting your home, you will not be able to obtain earthquake insurance.  In the case of a major earthquake and your home is destroyed, without insurance, you are left with a mortgage payment and no house.
  • Most crucial is the ability to occupy your home for weeks, even if it is destroyed. To think of your home as a shelter after a disaster is vital, you could still remain in the house to stay dry and limit your exposure to the weather.

What size earthquake will this protect me against?

Retrofitting your home does not equal fortification of your structure. The main goal of retrofitting your home is to reduce your risk against major injuries, protection of material property and to give you and your family the resiliency to survive, by using your home as a shelter against the elements.

What does it mean to retrofit?

In the most basic of terms, it is the modification of an existing structure to make them more resistant to seismic activity. Retrofitting can help prevent the home from slipping off the foundation and/or collapsing.  Please see our videos below showing the difference between and unattached and an attached home and how retrofitting can protect your investment.

Unattached house video  Attached house video

What about my water heater and other utilities?

Hot water heaters should be strapped to a wall or post to protect people from a bursting water heater and reduce fire potential. The installation of natural gas shut-off valves can help prevent houses from catching fire from natural gas lines.

I have an older home, why should I be worried about my home in an earthquake?

The majority of older homes are built and sit on top of a foundation and are not attached to it. Unless your home is built on a concrete slab, it is highly likely that it is constructed on a raised foundation with a crawlspace or basement. This type of construction does not give your home the strength to hold up to a strong earthquake that produces powerful lateral and upward movements, it will literally be knocked off its foundation.

The purpose of retrofitting is to attach the home to the foundation and give it the stability that it needs to withstand a violent earthquake.

Please visit our Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Illustration and Photos page for a detailed view of completed seismic upgrades.

Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Illustration and Photos

Below we’ve provided seismic retrofit attachments illustrations and photos to present a more in-depth visualization of what a seismic upgrade entails.  Although each home is unique, EcoTech is dedicated to tailor each retrofit plan to protect your home against earthquake damage.


Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Rendition of basic framing for a home


  • The Sill Plate is attached to the Foundation due to older homes “sitting” atop the concrete foundation, meaning there is nothing keeping the house physically attached, to the base of the home.  Thus, when a violent shaking earthquake occurs, the end result is the house literally being knocked off the foundation.
  • Attaching the Sill Plate to the Rim Joist follows the same logic as attaching the sill plate to the foundation.  When connecting all of these vital pieces of the home together, it is making a solid infrastructure, that allows the house to move as one part, not three separate sections.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Large Plate is attaching the Sill Plate to the Foundation. Small Plate is attaching the Rim Joist to the Sill Plate.

Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Close Up of Large Plate is attaching the Sill Plate to the Foundation. Small Plate is attaching the Rim Joist to the Sill Plate.


  • Attaching the Post to the Beam and the Post to the Floor follows along the same rule as above, this is accomplishing the goal of making the home as one solid unit.  When the ground shakes, the whole house will move together, not different pieces falling like dominos.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Attaching the Support Post in the lower part of the home to the Support Beam of the first floor.

Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Attaching the Support Post to the Floor of the lower portion of the home.


  • A Cripple Wall is usually found in older homes.  The cripple wall usually occurs between the first floor and the foundation, it is generally thought of as the weakest part of older buildings.  This is due to the fact that there is no concrete between the first floor and the foundation, it is usually made up of horizontal wood siding or stucco.  Since no concrete is between the home and the foundation, the collapse of the cripple wall could result in the main floor dropping to the ground.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Cripple Wall with only horizontal wood and no concrete, between the foundation and the first floor.

Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Plywood sheeting is added to the Cripple Wall construction to keep from the collapse of the first floor into the ground.


  • Bolting the Sill Plate to the Garage Foundation is the same concept as adding this extra security to the home.  The garage maybe attached to the home or there may be living space within the garage, either way bolting the sill plate to the garage foundation, allows the structure to move as one.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Two bolts within the Sill Plate to the Foundation of the garage.


  • Strapping the Water Heater to a wall or post protects people from a bursting water heater or reduces fire potential.
  • Installing a Natural Gas Shut-Off Valve help to prevent houses from catching fire due to broken natural gas lines.
Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Water heater strapped to basement post.

Seismic Retrofit Attachments

Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Natural gas shut-off valve.