How to Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake
Even if you’ve survived an earthquake before, there’s nothing more terrifying than experiencing one in your home. Everyone knows that a major earthquake can be dangerous, but even minor ones can cause damage to your house, especially if you haven’t taken the right precautions.
If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, you should prepare your home for the event of an earthquake.
Make Sure Your Home Is Structurally Secure
This step is one that should be completed before and during construction. Homes in high-risk areas should include reinforcements to the foundation, large porches or canopies, walls, and roof. You should also make sure that there aren’t external elements that could cause damage to your home, like power lines or old trees that are too near your home.
Have an Emergency Supplies Bag Ready
It’s common that during an earthquake, things can be damaged or go out of service like your electric system, phones, and even your vehicles. It’s important to have an emergency supplies kit in order to use should you need it in the event of an earthquake.
Your emergency bag should include things like a flashlight with batteries, candles and matches, packaged food that can be eaten without requiring preparation or refrigeration, a first aid kid, lots of bottled water, a cell phone and cell phone chargers, and any prescription medications that are necessary for you or your family.
Maintain Your Water Heater
One of the most common earthquake-related home damages is broken pipes that shift during a quake. If your water heater is dislodged, it could break water pipes, leading to flooding in your home, or even damage the CO2 vent, leaking deadly gas into your house.
To prevent this, you should make sure your water heater is safely strapped to a wall using metal earthquake straps. It should be connected at both the top and bottom of the tank. This will help prevent the pipes from shifting due to the weight of the tank moving and stop the tank itself from tipping over.
In California, where earthquakes are common, a local water heater company in Arleta can help you correctly install earthquake straps. Should your water heater should it become damaged in an earthquake, you should immediately contact an experienced local water heater repair company to fix the problem before it causes more damage.
If an earthquake hits, you should also immediately turn off the gas line in your home to prevent aftershocks from causing a leak.
Create an Emergency Plan
An emergency plan is essential to ensure all members of your household are aware of what to do in the event of an earthquake. This can include where to go when the earthquake is happening, how to contact one another if every family member isn’t at home, who is in charge of grabbing the emergency bags, etc.
Secure Furniture and Other Loose Belongings
Securing all your furniture with anchors or bolts, especially tall, heavy objects like bookcases and dressers, is a must. You don’t want the danger of furniture falling on top of you and causing you or your family member more harm.
You may also want to take other precautions such as installing latches on drawers to keep them from opening and spilling, adding safety chains to hanging lights or chandeliers, and using closed hooks for hanging pictures and mirrors.
You can never be too prepared when it comes to getting your home ready to weather an earthquake, so use these tips to secure your home against a potential disaster.