An earthquake can strike at any time. You could be enjoying dinner with your family, taking a shower, or commuting to work, and all of a sudden, the ground below you starts shaking. Earthquakes result from a sudden release of pressure along faults. In terms of magnitude, earthquakes range from below 2.0, which usually has little impact, to above 8, which can level cities. Today, about half of Americans in 48 states live in areas at risk for major earthquakes. Hotspots are located on the West Coast and some sections of the Mississippi Valley. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you must consider earthquake-proofing your house.
Why Is Earthquake Proofing Your Home Important?
Falling objects often cause the majority of damage during an earthquake. For instance, during the Northridge earthquake, falling objects or furniture accounted for about 55% of the injuries. In comparison, building damages caused about 1% of the injuries. Securing your space can also reduce damage and injury in other situations. For instance, falling televisions seriously injure thousands of children across the U.S. every year. Therefore, earthquake-proofing is useful even if you don’t live or work in an earthquake-prone area.
How to Make Your House Earthquake-Resistant?
The shaking that comes with earthquakes can move even heavy and large objects in your home. Therefore, start by moving furniture that can topple over during an earthquake, such as bookcases, away from sofas, beds, and other spaces where you sleep, sit or spend a significant amount of time. Additionally, place heavy, large, or fragile items on lower shelves and fasten large or heavy objects to walls.
Basic Earthquake Proofing List
You can start by dealing with at least one hazard weekly until you fully earthquake-proof your house.
Zero cost tasks:
- Move large or heavy objects to lower shelves near the floor
- Move items that can fall away from spaces where you and your loved ones spend a significant amount of time
- Move unstable or heavy objects away from escape routes and doors
- Store breakable items like china and glass jars in low and closed cabinets
- Know where your electric fuse, water service shut-off, natural gas shut-off, and circuit breaker box are because it may be necessary to shut them off after an earthquake.
- Prune the limbs of trees close to your property
- Secure your water heater to a wall using metal straps
- Secure top-heavy appliances and furniture to the walls
- Use wax or museum putty to prevent small items from falling
- Hang pictures and mirrors on closed hooks
Tasks that involve more cost and work:
- Secure overhead lighting fixtures to your ceiling
- Secure free-standing fireplace inserts and wood stoves
Other safety measures you should take include moving flammable liquids to secure areas in your shed or garage. Another important aspect you should consider is crafting a disaster plan for you and your loved ones. Decide how you’ll communicate if disaster strikes. Your earthquake emergency plan can also be helpful in other emergencies such as fire, flood, or tornado. It’s also prudent to have a well-stocked emergency kit that contains medications, extra batteries, bottled water, shelf-stable snacks, and other essential items that your family and pets may need.
You will also need an insurance policy that will adequately cover your home and belongings in the event of an earthquake. Contact us today at Hoffman Brown Company to get started on your customized earthquake insurance.