10 Household Items That Can Be Dangerous In An Earthquake

Take precautions now to make your home safer during an earthquake, and learn what to do during an earthquake and afterwards.

You home is full of potential earthquake hazards. Many of them can be mitigated by taking steps before an earthquake strikes. Other dangers must be avoided during the earthquake or circumvented afterwards. Be cautious when cleaning up after an earthquake because aftershocks are common.

1. Damaged electrical lines, which can cause fires

What to do: Learn how to shut off electricity and do so immediately after the earthquake. Stay away from any live wires during and after the quake. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher close at hand. Don't turn the electricity back on yourself; have the fire department or electric company turn the power back on when the area is secure.

2. Items flying out of high cabinets

What to do: Put latches on cabinet doors. Stay away from high cabinets during an earthquake. After an earthquake, open cabinets slowly in case items inside have shifted.

3. Weakened chimneys, which can topple over or from which bricks or stones can fall

What to do: Check the stability of your chimney and repair any damage. Move away from the chimney during an earthquake.

4. Flammable and hazardous materials that could catch fire or come in contact with people



What to do: Store them in strong containers with tight lids and on low shelves in sturdy cabinets fastened to the wall or floor. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher close at hand.

5. Flying or falling glass from broken windows and glass doors

What to do: Place beds as far away from windows and glass doors as possible. Apply safety film to windows and glass doors. Move away from windows and glass doors during an earthquake.

6. Free-standing wood stoves that could cause a fire if knocked over

What to do: Secure your wood stove to wall or floor studs. Move away from it during an earthquake. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher close at hand.

7. Gas appliances and water heaters that can fall over or leak gas

What to do: Make sure your appliances and water heater are fastened to wall studs and that all gas heaters and appliances are connected to the gas pipe with flexible tubing. Learn how to shut off the gas and do so immediately after the earthquake. Don't turn it back on yourself; have the fire department or gas company turn the gas back on when the area is secure.

8. Light fixtures, heavy mirrors, and pictures on the walls, which can fall

What to do: Do not place these on the wall directly above your bed. Use closed screw-eyes and wire to securely attach pictures and mirrors to the walls. Move away from these items during an earthquake.

9. Objects flying off of shelves and tables

What to do: Add lips to shelves to keep objects from flying off. Place heavy objects on lower shelves and fasten them to table surfaces or shelves.

10. Overturned bookcases and tall or heavy furniture and appliances

What to do: Secure furniture and bookcases to wall or floor studs with lag bolts. Lock the rollers of any large appliances or pieces of furniture. Move away from these items during an earthquake.

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