Earthquake Preparedness: Tips for Protecting Your Home
Earthquakes typically occur without warning, so there’s no time like the present to help make sure your home is safe. Consider these precautions to help protect yourself and your belongings before an earthquake happens.
Scan Your Home for Potential Hazards
Household items can be shaken loose or fall during an earthquake. Make sure heavy items like mirrors or wall art are not hung directly above a bed or couch, according to the American Red Cross. With that in mind, go room by room and take stock of any objects that might fall if they are jostled by an earthquake. Consider moving these pieces away from where someone could be sleeping or sitting.
Store Items Safely
Consider moving heavy, fragile items such as china and glassware to lower shelves or cabinets closer to the floor, says the Red Cross. You may also want to use bolts or latches on drawers and cabinets to help keep them closed, adds the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Keep Furniture and Appliances Secure
Some top-heavy furniture like a bookcase or even a TV stand should be anchored to wall studs, according to the Red Cross. If you’re not comfortable bolting the furniture yourself, consider bringing in a professional. The Red Cross also notes you can hire a professional to help you secure appliances like a water heater, too.
Stock an Emergency Kit
Before an earthquake occurs, consider building an emergency kit for you and your family. This kit should include at least three days’ worth of food and water, a whistle, a flashlight and a fire extinguisher, says Ready.gov. Remember, you want to customize your kit to your family’s specific needs. If you have a pet, make sure to also include items for your furry friend like their food, water, carrier and leash.
Know How to Shut Off Utilities
It’s important to know how to shut off the utilities to your home in case of an emergency. The Red Cross suggests having a wrench handy in order to turn off the utilities after an earthquake occurs to help prevent gas leaks or electrical sparks from igniting items in your home. If you’re not sure how or where to shut off your utilities, contact your utility company or speak to a professional.
Taking the proper precautions now may help protect you and your home in the event of an earthquake.