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10 Tips for Earthquake Preparedness

Be Prepared written on a chalkboard

It is important to keep you and your family safe in your home. Here are tips to prepare your home in case of an earthquake.

01. Exterior Inspection

The foundation and its structural stability is the most important part of the building and needs to be inspected during your initial earthquake preparations. Check the stability of your chimney, roof and wall foundations by looking for cracks, holes or any moist soil around the foundation. You may also want to hire a licensed contractor for a formal inspection. If you're in a home that was built before 1935, make sure that the house is bolted to the foundation. If you are a new home buyer, continue reading for information specifically about homeowners insurance coverage and the basics about earthquake insurance.

02. Large Appliances

Be sure to secure your water heater and other appliances that could move and disrupt utility lines. There are many products available to effectively secure these large appliances in place. Visit your local hardware store for their advice on the various products available to suite your needs.

03. Cupboard Organization

It is recommended to store breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves as things may shift during an earthquake. Doing this should help decrease the amount of damage as the heavier items are less likely to break or cause damage if they fall a shorter distance.

04. Cabinet Preparation

Installing latches on all cabinet doors can save you clean up time and money if an earthquake hits. Cabinets easily open during an earthquake and if you don't have anything to secure the doors in place objects will most likely fall out. Various types of cabinet latches are also available at your local hardware store.

05. Knowledge Is Key

Learn how to shut off the gas, water and electricity in your home. By shutting off these utilities you are preventing leaks in case any of the pipes break during the earthquake. If you do notice damage or smell anything out of the ordinary be sure to contact the appropriate professional to inspect your home immediately.

06. Hazardous Materials

Keep all flammable and hazardous liquids (i.e. paints, pest sprays and cleaning products) in cabinets or secured on low shelves. As mentioned above, it is easy for things to shift and fall during an earthquake and you will want to make sure that any hazardous bottles/cans do not open/spill.   

07. Bolts and Fasteners

Bolt heavy cabinets and tall furnishings to the wall studs. Take a moment to walk around your home and take note of the total number of tall/large pieces of furniture in every room. If the item is not secured to a wall stud then it is time to take a trip to your local hardware store and purchase 1 pack of earthquake straps/fasters for each piece.

08. Wall Furnishings

Hang any heavy pictures or wall decorations at a distance from beds, chairs or couches. It is best to keep these items away from seating areas in your home so that they are less likely to fall and injure anyone during an earthquake. Learn more about

09. Emergency Kit

Maintain your supply of emergency, food, water, medicine, first aid, tools, batteries, documents and clothing. It is recommended keep an emergency bucket containing these items in your home that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Learn more about emergency preparedness.

10. Light the Way

Keep an easily accessible flashlight in every room in case an earthquake strikes in the night. We never know when an earthquake will occur but if it does happen during the night and your electricity goes out, you will want to have a flashlight ready so that you do not trip over or step on any broken items or glass on the floor as you make your way to a safe location.

Remember, it is never too soon to prepare your home for an earthquake! For more information about earthquake preparedness contact your local American Red Cross.

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