10 Easy Ways to Earthquake Proof your Home

10 Easy Ways to Earthquake Proof Your Home

An earthquake may strike at any second without warning. The most dangerous thing about an earthquake is NOT the ground opening up swallowing you like in the movies. The most dangerous thing is when heavy or loose items fall on top of you or hit you during all the shaking. The best way to keep yourself protected is by making sure everything is secured. Here are 10 easy ways to earthquake proof your home. It doesn’t take much effort so make sure you look around your home and do it!

1. Strap Down

For TV’s, computers, and stereos, use buckles and safety straps that allow easy removal and relocation but still ensure that they won’t move and hit you during an earthquake.

2. Anchoring

Basically anything that is tall like bookcases, entertainment consoles, file cabinets, dressers, refrigerators, and other large appliances are very likely to tip over during an earthquake. Anchor them to the studs in the wall with flexible fasteners to prevent them from falling or bold them down. If you don’t know where the studs are, use a stud finder.

3. Install latches

Cabinet doors and drawers can violently swing during an earthquake and smack you in the head. Their contents like glasses and dishes can dangerously fly at you. Use latches to prevent this from happening.

4. Brace

No one wants to get hit on the head with a falling ceiling fan, chandelier, or light fixture. Use a brace that’s secured to the ceiling joist to keep your head on your shoulders.

5. Inspection

If you live in an earthquake zone, there are building regulations that require the structure to withstand an earthquake. If you have an older home (built before 1992) you should get a professional to inspect your home as 1992 was the year when more earthquake resistance standards were introduced to building codes. Even if your house was built after 1992 it doesn’t hurt to make sure the structural integrity of your home is maintained.

6. Rearrange

Heavy objects are more likely to cause injury if they fall from high locations so you should rearrange your belongings and put heavy objects on lower shelves. Hanging items such as mirrors, framed art, framed pictures should be moved away from above beds, couches, chairs, or anywhere you’ll be frequently sitting to ensure they don’t fall on you. These things are easy to do, and best of all it’s FREE!

7. Let’s Putty!

Secure decorative items like china, collectibles, trophies and other shelf items with adhesive putty.

8. Hazardous Chemicals

Store hazardous chemicals like bleach, gasoline, and fertilizer away from your furnace or stove. These things can easily catch fire during an earthquake and should be stored away from people in the garage or storage room.

9. Clear a Path

Make sure that exit routes are kept clear and unobstructed. Don’t leave your sports equipment laying all over the floor or pile a bunch of storage boxes in front of the door that never gets used. You won’t always be near the front door of your home so make sure other forms of exit are easily accessible.

10. Flexible Connections

Make sure your appliances have flexible gas or electrical connections so in the event of an earthquake they won’t break and cause other hazards like gas leakage or fires.

Final Thoughts

Taking precautionary steps toward earthquake safety now will better prepare and protect you during an earthquake. Most of these things are relatively cheap to implement. Heck, some things are FREE (you just have to reorganize things)! Every home is different so you just need to take the time and walk around your home to spot the potential danger areas and take the necessary steps to fix them. I encourage you to take a few minutes and just walk around your home and visualize, “if there was an earthquake right now, what dangers would there be?”. You’ll be surprised at how many things you’ll spot. You can even make it like a game with your kids or partner to add some fun to the process by seeing who can list the most things. Make sure you explain why it’s a danger and what you can do to fix it, then……GO FIX IT!
 

8 Comments

  1. Roger

    Very practical and easy to install suggestions and tips!

    I lived in San Francisco for 17 years and was there during the 1989 earthquake. Some of your suggestions (bracing bookcases for example) was something we had done, but maybe there are more tips and tricks that we didn’t have back then!

    I really liked the latches for cupboard doors and drawers. I don’t want to tell you how many times I’ve jammed my noggin into an open cupboard door!

    The flexible hoses are a nice suggestion too. That wold make things much less rigid and prevent gas leaks in some cases. Such a simpy idea, but lots of advantage.

    Finally, I did use Quake Hold putty to keep things in place. It also helped to keep stuff from being batted onto the floor by my cat, Karma. She loved to clear areas! I still have the Quake Hold, even though I moved to New Hampshire, and use it to secure items so they don’t get knocked over or off!

    Fantastic advice, Thanks!

    Roger

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Thank you for your comment Roger!
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with the 1989 earthquake.
      Good to know you are safe and I’m glad you had some safety measures in place to help reduce the effects of the quake.

      Reply
  2. Amanda

    Hi, I like your post. I live in Oklahoma and we have started having a lot of earthquakes in the last few years. I have already done a few of these things simply because I have kids who might pull stuff down on themselves. It looks like there are a few more things I could do to prepare. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Andy

      No problem Amanda. I’m glad this post helped. Hopefully you and your family will be more protected during an earthquake.

      Reply
  3. Jaime

    Very great information on your post. I’m glad I read it because now I have to do some re-arranging around my home. I got to fixated on just putting anything anywhere and after reading your post I realized I had a lot of heavy objects on my shelves. I really have to bring them to the lower shelves like you stated and start anchoring down my shelves. Thank you for a great read.

    Reply
    1. admin

      I was the same way. I had a lot of heavy objects on my shelves over time and didn’t notice it until I actually went around my house for a self-inspection. I’m really glad I did as some really heavy things were on high shelves and could have been really dangerous.

      Reply
  4. Pete

    Great information about earthquake proofing your home. I have thankfully never had to experience one, but I would definitely take your advice into consideration anyway. I live in North Carolina at the moment, so I don’t think we have many earthquakes over on this way, do they? We haven’t lived here long, so i’m not positive. Anyways, thanks for all the great tips!

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Thanks for the comment Pete! Actually they do have earthquakes in North Carolina. There was actually a magnitude 2.5 there on March 1, 2016. Here’s also a link to some North Carolina earthquake history. So it’s always a good idea to at least know what to do in the event of an earthquake.

      Reply

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