Natural disasters can happen at any time, in any location. Earthquakes are no different.
If you live in a geographic region that is at risk for continued earthquake activity, earthquake proofing your home is one step to making sure you are prepared for these unpredictable events. Preparing for earthquakes before they happen allows you to stay calm and can save you stress.
Taking the time to prepare before a disaster can save you money on repairs. Spending the effort on earthquake proofing your home can even spare you heartbreak if the unthinkable happens.
- Form a plan. Locate potential hazards in your home that need to be remedied. The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends standing in each room of your home and visualizing the disaster, locating the items most likely to cause harm.
- Secure large appliances to a sturdy wall stud using bolts. Examples of appliances to secure include refrigerators, water heaters and ovens. Use a stud finder, if necessary, to find the right spot.
- Strap down televisions and computer monitors using hook-and-eye tape.
- Affix decorative items to their locations with small bits of poster putty or wax.
- Anchor large fixtures such as bookshelves, cabinets, dressers and china hutches. Use a bolt or anchoring strap to secure these fixtures to wall studs.
- Re-arrange your belongings. Keep heavy objects on lower shelves. In the event of an earthquake, heavy objects could cause injury if they fall from high locations in your home.
- Store hazardous, inflammable or caustic chemicals away from potentially explosive appliances, such as gas dryers. Store chemicals in sealed, locked containers on a low shelf in a cabinet with a latch.
- Clear a path. Keep exit routes and locations open and free from obstruction. In the event of an earthquake, it may be necessary to evacuate your home by means other than the front door.
- Attach closures to cabinet doors. This prevents items from falling out during an earthquake.
- Position beds and cribs away from potential hazards. Windows can shatter during an earthquake. Overhead lights or ceiling fixtures can fall.
- Re-position items on the walls so they are not located above beds, couches or chairs. Items to look out for include mirrors, framed art, shelves and sculptures.
- Keep disaster supplies located in an easily accessible location. Create a disaster preparedness kit for each member of your family.
- Stay up-to-date on home repairs. Maintaining the structural integrity of your home means less chance of injury or damage during an earthquake.