Large earthquakes typically cause property damage, bodily injuries, and fatalities. Therefore, whether you live in a seismic hazard zone or not, you should take all the necessary measures to stay safe during an earthquake. Here are 12 essential earthquake safety tips to get you started.
- Fasten Large, Heavy, Hanging ItemsFasten large, heavy, hanging items such as wall-mounted televisions and framed pictures to walls.
- Move Heavy and Single Items to Lower Shelves
If you use cabinets or shelves to maximize storage space, move single items and the heaviest boxes to lower shelves.
- Secure Fragile Items
Even an earth tremor can cause fragile items such as décor accessories placed on shelves to fall and break. One way to protect such items is to fasten them on the surfaces upon which they sit using museum putty.
- Ensure Appliances Won’t Move
Some large home appliances, including refrigerators, standing dehumidifiers, and dishwashers, have wheels that allow them to be moved easily. If you own such appliances, lock their wheels in place to ensure they do not roll during an earthquake, leading to losses. Alternatively, you can remove the wheels or place a small wedge under the wheels. Additionally, secure the appliances to wall studs.
- Safety with Potentially Harmful Chemicals
Store any potentially harmful chemicals and solvents away from the house. Ideally, you should keep them in a well-ventilated cabinet in a shed or garage. Lock the cabinet and secure it to the wall with earthquake straps to ensure it can’t move or fall.
- Perform a Seismic Retrofit
Many buildings in California are not earthquake-proof, with older buildings being particularly vulnerable. If your home is not earthquake-proof, perform a seismic retrofit to strengthen it.
- Reinforce Brick Chimneys
If your chimney is made of bricks, reinforce the bricks with steel bracing or add metal on top of the chimney. Alternatively, replace the brick chimney with one made of lightweight materials that conform to the current codes.
- Install Safety Glass or Security Film on Windows
To avoid injuries from shattering glass, install security film or safety glass on your windows. Unlike regular glass, safety window glasses help keep glass shards together under impact, helping prevent injuries.
- Secure Dressers and BookcasesSecure all dressers and bookcases using earthquake straps and anchor kits to prevent accidents.
- Retrofit HVAC Systems with Vibration Isolators and Restraint Brackets
Vibration isolators and restraint brackets typically protect the HVAC system from vibrations and movement, respectively. Ensuring this system is well secured is one of the basic ways of preventing potentially expensive earthquake damage.
- Use Safety Hangers
If you must keep some items on the wall, ensure you secure them well using safety hangers. Quakeproof museum putty and tremor hooks can help keep picture frames and other hanging items from smacking against the wall during an earthquake.
- Protect Yourself and Your Family
Flying glass, falling objects, and collapsing walls account for the highest number of earthquake-related injuries. Therefore, protect yourself and your loved ones from these incidents by taking cover under sturdy objects such as tables to prevent flying glass and falling objects from hitting your heads directly. Also, keep an emergency earthquake kit with you at all times.
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