How to Prepare Your Home Before an Earthquake Hits

How to Prepare Your Home Before an Earthquake Hits

Earthquakes are a natural disaster that can be very destructive.  There are several steps that you can take to prepare both you and your home in order to minimize the injuries and damage.

Planning Steps

Identify the best place indoors to take cover when the earthquake hits.  Discuss with family members so that everyone knows areas in the house to avoid.  As well as the best places to seek cover if the earthquake strikes when you are outside.

Create a family plan with escape routes out of the house and an emergency meeting place in case you get separated.

Know where your gas, electric and water main controls are and how to turn them off.  A broken gas line can lead to an unintended explosion in the right set of circumstances.

Put together an emergency kit with enough supplies for everyone in your family to sustain everyone for a few days.  A basic first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, water, can opener and canned foods and camping food is a great resource to have.

Steps for Inside the House

Fit gas appliances with flexible connections and/or breakaway gas shut off device.  Install a main gas shut-off device, these will aid when it needs to be manually shut off.

Secure water heater to walls, if the hone is newer than it should already be up to code, but double check that it is safe in preparation.  If it is not seismic strapped, then it is a project that can easily be done yourself with a kit.

Anchor bookcases, dressers and filing cabinets to walls with standard steel brackets.

Fasten all shelves securely to the walls.  Place heavier items on lower shelves so that in an earthquake they have a smaller distance to fall and most importantly are less likely to fly and hit someone.

Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling out of doors.  If one has glassware or valuable china in a curio or cabinet, it may be wise to invest in museum quality putty to anchor key pieces to the shelves.

Make sure that all of ceiling lights, chandeliers, and other light fixtures are securely fastened to ceilings.

Anchor large appliances to walls using straps or safety cables.

The Structure of the House

Your homes structure may need some reinforcing, these are the most important and common fixes to look for.

Adding anchor bolts or steel plates between your home and the foundation.  This will aid in preventing your home from crumbling, being overturned or sliding during an earthquake.

Bracing the inside of a cripple wall and the short wood stud wall.

Bracing unreinforced chimneys, masonry and concrete walls and foundations.

Working with foundation repair specialists is the best way to secure that your home is secure and safe for an earthquake.  While many of these residential foundation repairs are needed there could be more substantial maintenance that foundation repair specialists are trained to understand and notice before the unthinkable happens.  Being prepared can help ensure your families safety and help with damage done to your home.

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