Preparing Your Home For Earthquakes

Prepare your home and yourself for an unexpected earthquake.

Earthquakes can be quite unpredictable, and strike anytime without warning. It is very important to keep your family and home prepared for you and your family's safety. An important part of being prepared for an unexpected earthquake is to plan to the highest degree ahead of time. The following are some steps to get your home prepared in the case of an unanticipated earthquake.

Before or during an earthquake it could become necessary to turn off your electric service panel, water shut-off valve, or gas meter. You should find these items and become very familiar with their location. To make things easier and ease your mind, a qualified plumber can install a valve on your gas line that will automatically turn off the gas if an earthquake were to occur. This will ensure one less thing you will have to worry about.

An earthquake could unfortunately interrupt the flow of your drinking water into your home, so you should plan to conserve what you can. One good source of drinking water could be in your water heater if it is not broken during the earthquake. To put a stop to any damage you can have the water heater secured to the wall with two state approved water heater straps, or another secure and safe bracing system.

Check any and all gas lines in your home, especially the flexible ones. Restore any that show any signs of deterioration, damage, or that may be no longer satisfactory. Contact your gas utility company and they will inform you of which gas lines are acceptable for your safety.

If your roof is not protected with plywood panels below the shingles, you can nail some plywood to your attic's floor. This will help prevent any debris falling down into your home possibly harming someone.

You should have a structural engineer or other qualified inspector inspect the foundation of your home, making sure it is properly secured to your house. The inspector could recommend a qualified contractor if it needs work.

Inside and outside masonry should be secured by studs with metal bands, however there are other means of securing the masonry. As always, seek advice from a qualified expert, such as an experienced and licensed masonry contractor.

Take a slow walk around your house, checking each room in your home carefully for anything that could be dangerous or risky in the event of an earthquake. Be aware of anything that could possibly harm someone during an earthquake, and resolve it. Items hanging on the walls should be appropriately secured so as not to fall. Cupboards and cabinets should also be tightly secured with very strong latches so the items inside will stay inside. Look around for anything that could fall or move and possibly hurt someone. Make sure everything is secure, especially large and heavy objects.

Keep researching and reading up about earthquake preparedness. Check with your library, police and fire station for important information they should have about preparing your home for an earthquake.

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