Earthquakes are a terrifying reality of life on earth. They can cause so much destruction and devastation, in such a short period of time. In a way, there’s no way to truly prepare for the threat they pose, as they come out of nowhere and a high enough magnitude will thwart almost any protective measures.
However, since most earthquakes are not “The Big One”, there is plenty you can do that will reduce damage to your home and prepare you for the chaotic aftermath of an earthquake.
Particularly if you are keeping survival supplies in your home, you will want to make sure you take preventative measures to keep your stuff, and your family, safe. Here are some tips for earthquake-proofing your home, to minimize any damage caused by a sizable earthquake.
Brace Your Shelves
If you keep food and supplies, or any other of your possessions, on shelves, you will probably want to make sure they are securely attached to the wall. Shelves are always one of the first things to fall apart in a significant earthquake. This can cause serious injury or damage. So, you’ll want to ensure your shelves are braced to a wall stud, or the floor. There are many different kinds of shelving, so it’s probably best to consult with someone at a hardware store to make sure you can install your shelves safely.
Avoid Elevating Heavy or Delicate Artwork
Growing up in California, my parents were always really careful to avoid hanging anything with a very heavy frame, or balancing any heavy items such as statues or breakable vases on a shelf or mantel. Basically, use common sense when decorating or choosing where to store your belongings. If it looks like it could fall off a shelf and either brake or seriously injure someone in a earthquake, find somewhere else to put it. Remember, earthquakes shake the ground and anything on it in a way you often don’t anticipate, so consider this visual when earthquake-proofing your home:
Secure Your Valuables
If you do need to keep many heavy, breakable items on your shelf, find a way to secure them. There are special products designed just for keeping vases on shelves, for example, or, if you keep a lot of your canned food on shelving, find a way to secure the jars to the shelf so you don’t have a huge mess on your hands, not to mention, you can keep your food safe.
Secure Cabinet Doors
Another common cause of injury or damage during an earthquake is cabinet doors swinging open and shut. Glass wear can fly out of your kitchen cabinets and make a huge, not to mention dangerous, mess on the floor. Even worse, canned goods can fly out of the shelves and seriously hurt someone on top of ruining perfectly good earthquake food! There’s a very simple solution to this: install baby locks on all your cabinet doors. This will keep the contents of your cabinets from flying out of the cabinets and on to the floor, and if lay a rubberized no-slip lining, it will reduce the possibility of the items within getting jostled around during the quake.
Earthquakes are certainly no fun, but if you take some of these precautions before the next one hits, you can greatly reduce the potential for damage.
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