The Essential Earthquake Handbook

Earthquakes can be devastating whether you’re prepared or not. For those who are unprepared, it can be truly disastrous. Many people die because they are not equipped to handle an earthquake. People can die in the actual quake or they can become trapped without supplies, dying because of dehydration or injuries. To prevent this, people need to consider how safe their house is. What is your house constructed of and will it be likely to survive an earthquake? Is it built on a steep hill that’s likely to shift and cause the house to move as well? Will the chimney stay standing? You should even ask yourself how many windows your house has and how likely they are to not shatter.

Make sure that all bookshelves are secured properly to a wall so they don’t fall over. Secure your water heater to the wall using flexible plumbers strapping and brackets. Put the top strap near the top and the second near the middle. Don’t bother with the bottom. Make sure that your home has sill plates that are bolted to the foundation to help your house withstand the shaking. Cripple walls also have to be secured. These are walls that have a series of 2x studs that go from the top of the foundation upwards. Houses can be dangerous in earthquake zones because the walls are usually unable to handle the shaking and can collapse like a series of dominos. Buying a book or going online is the best way to learn how to secure these walls, as it can be a detailed, complicated process. Your appliances should also be secured in some way. Use screw-eye screws to affix stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves to the wall so they don’t move during an earthquake.

If you have hanging fixtures, using chain traps or 14-gauge wire to attach these fixtures to a nearby ceiling joist. It’s also important to know how to turn off all your major appliances after an earthquake if your house loses power to prevent them from shorting out when it comes back on. You should also look into purchasing earthquake insurance. It’s the same as fire insurance and it will help offset the costs of any damages done to a house in the case of an earthquake. It can also help replace things lost or damaged in the earthquake.

You should also have a family plan in place. Have a bag ready filled with such things like a flashlight, a first aid kit, water, food, and a radio so you can listen to emergency services if the earthquake is severe. Place this bag in a spot that is easy to reach. You should also make a plan to meet up in a certain part of the house – the part that is safest – after an earthquake so you know where everyone is. Practice this plan often so everyone knows what to do, even small children.

What you do after an earthquake is extremely important as well. You should have a radio to turn on and listen to important news. Check your family for injuries and treat them if possible. Do not attempt to drive anywhere for awhile after unless absolutely necessary because there will be aftershocks. You should also be very aware of how powerful aftershocks can be; often they can cause as much damage as the original earthquake. You should also shut off the gas to prevent possible gas leaks. If you venture outside, avoid downed power lines.

Earthquakes can cause a lot of damage when they occur. Being smart about them can help prevent damage from spreading or becoming worse. If you live in a place where earthquakes can occur – even if it’s been years – you should always be prepared. Making sure you and your house are ready is the best way to stay safe from earthquakes.

Earthquake Readiness Resources

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Guardian Insurance does not endorse the content of these articles and they are provided merely for information. These articles are reproduced with the permission of the Author.