Preparing your Home for an Earthquake
► Have a Family Disaster Plan Meeting
► Take a CPR First Aid class
► Check with your Insurance Company about the type of Homeowners Insurance you have.
Does it cover Earthquakes?
Go through each room of your home and look for potential hazards.
Make a list of how you can fix them and in what order you need to do so.
♦ Consult a professional to suggest ways to make your home more secure,
such as bolting the house to the foundation.
♦ Have the chimney checked for safety.
♦ Look around the outside of your home for hazards that might fall during
a large earthquake, such as other buildings, trees or power lines.
♦ Strap your water heater to the studs in the wall and bolt it to the floor.
You can also have large appliances anchored, such as your refrigerator or stove.
♦ Repair any deep cracks in your foundation, walls, ceilings, or anywhere you find them.
Check with an expert to see if there are signs of structural defects.
♦ Store any flammable products, such as pesticides, weed killers, gasoline
(for your portable generator), pain or turpentine, securely on the bottom shelves
of closed and security latched cabinets.
If possible, store any flammable products in the garage or a shed not attached to the house.
♦ Anchor bookshelves, cabinets or any large piece of furniture to the wall studs.
♦ Secure and brace any chandeliers or other objects hanging from the ceiling.
♦ Use earthquake putty on breakables in your curio cabinets.
Place larger and heavier items on lower shelves.
♦ Secure pictures and paintings to the wall.
♦ Secure all television sets securely in place, especially the really big ones.
♦ Install strong latches on all your cabinets, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
This will prevent the doors from opening and all your dishes and glass wear,
or pots and pans from falling out, creating a safety hazard.
This will also keep your food supplies safe.
In the bathroom, all of your medicine cabinet items will stay in place.
If you have shelving above your toilet, always keep the towel lid down.
That way nothing will fall into the toilet bowl during an earthquake.
(This also solves the age-old argument of the toilet seat up or down debate.)
♦ Know where the main connections are for your electricity, gas and water.
Know how to turn them off. Once they are turned off, remember that
a professional or company representative should turn them back on,
and after checking the system for any damage.
Decide Where To Go During an Earthquake.
♦ When the shaking starts, what do you do, and where do you go?
The answer lies in where you are in the home when the shaking starts.
You often hear "Stand in the doorway". This was good in older homes,
where doorways were constructed with extra support.
In more modern-day homes, the structure is not as sturdy.
The other problem with the doorway is the door.
If the earthquake is a strong one, the door can slam up against you causing injuries.
♦ Your best bet is to go into an inside hallway of your home.
You want to be away from any windows that might break, and away from any furniture
that might fall on top of you.
As you are deciding on your spots, sit on the floor, put your head in your lap
and cover your head with your arms.
Then have someone look to see what might fall on you.
Move or secure any hazards.
♦ You want to find a safe place for every room.
In a large earthquake, you will not be able to walk well,
and you want to reduce the chance of being injured by something falling on you.
♦ Practice Drop, Cover and Hold On.
You may have a sturdy desk or table under which you can hide.
If not, sit on the floor by the closest interior wall away from windows.
♦ The main thing to remember is to protect your face and eyes
from falling or flying debris.
♦ Have an earthquake drill every month.
Practice your Drop, Cover and Hold On.