My city is an earthquake zone. Historically, my region has had earthquakes every couple hundred of years. It has been almost 350 years since our last big one, so we are all waiting with baited breath for the ultimate “big one.”
All growing up, all I could hear about it the “big one.” The fear seemed to help us all prepare, but eventually that excitement wore off. It feels a bit like the boy who cried wolf.
Unfortunately, we will never know when the “big one” will happen. Not convinced about emergency prep? Think about this: how you prepare before a disaster will greatly impact how you life after a disaster. All we can do is prepare and hope for the best.
The first place you should start your earthquake preparedness is in your home, especially if you spend a lot of time there. You must secure your home to minimize any damages to your and your posessions.
Start with the foundation. If you build your home, you will be able to have a bigger say in how seismically sound your home foundation is. But rest assured, all homes must be built to safety code.
Next, secure the items in your home. First look at big items in your home that could topple and fall. Think about book shelves, a television, a china hutch, etc. These items could easily fall over in the event of an earthquake and damage your home or even you. For big items like a hutch or bookshelf, secure with a stud to your wall to give it more support, however, flexible nylon straps are ideal. The nylon straps will give your item a little bit of sway so it can move with the earthquake.
After you secure your heavy furniture, work on the items resting on the furniture. Small collectibles, vases and other knick knacks can become like shrapnel. You can use little hooks to keep items secure. Or you can use earthquake putty which is safe and non-damaging to the item, but will keep it secure.
Nylon straps are perfect for securing costly electronics like a television, microwave or stereo. Since most of these items are heavier, they pose more of a risk for falling.
Take your fastening skills to the wall and ensure that all of your hanging objects such as artwork and mirrors are more secure. Most picture frames will do fine with a simple nail, but closed hooks will ensure that items have a trickier time bouncing off the wall. Do not put heavy framed artwork above your bed or sofa where you are more likely to get a head injury.
Move into the kitchen to secure your cabinet doors, especially if you keep heavy dishes or pots and pans up there. Dishes will break and create shards of porcelain that could really hurt someone. Use cheap child-proof latches to secure cabinets.
Lastly, secure your water heater to the wall. If your water heater tips over you are at a great risk for a fire.