Earthquake Preparedness Series Part 2: Securing Your Home & Office

Earthquake-proofing your home and office are great steps you can take to prepare for an
earthquake. Take the time to make these small changes and decrease the chance
of earthquake damage in the event of a major quake.

The best way to approach this project is to:

  1. Identify hazards: Check for any places in your home/office that have loose objects that could fall or slide during shaking.
  2. Secure: Take proper steps to anchor objects. QuakeHold is a great source for earthquake-proofing products.
  3. Check that secure: Double check for stability by slightly shaking objects. Take necessary steps to further anchor objects that need more security.

Inside the Home

Look for heavy furniture such as tall cabinets that can tip over. You can use safety straps to secure them or use flexible-mount fasteners to reduce the strain on studs and allow furniture some controlled, independent movement during an earthquake.

Cabinet doors often fly open during shaking so use secure latches, especially on high cabinet doors. Place heavy or valuable objects on lower shelves and use museum wax to prevent sliding. Museum wax can be found at hardware or home goods stores.

Mounted flat screen TV screens, large picture frames, and mirrors can also be hazards. Anchor them by drilling into studs instead of drywall. Smaller appliances such as sound systems, computers, and kitchen appliances can be fastened with flexible nylon straps and buckles, which allow them to be easily relocated.

In children’s rooms, be sure that there isn’t anything that can fall on top of your child. Keep your child’s bed away from windows or shelves.

Don’t forget to look for things in the garage that could fall onto your vehicle and damage it! Garages are often overlooked in earthquake-proofing your home. Water heaters should also be anchored at the top and bottom with proper straps so that it won’t topple over.

Lastly, identify where and how to turn off your water, gas, and electric lines. Keep necessary tools handy in case you need to turn off the valves.

Inside the Office

You never know where you’ll be in the event of a major earthquake. There is a high chance you’ll be in your office! By taking a few precautions, you can prepare for an earthquake at your workplace.

Be sure to talk to your employer before starting. Your concern about earthquake safety could initiate further discussion on earthquake safety in the rest of your office.

Earthquake-proofing is a lot like securing your home, just on a smaller scale. Again, be aware of any heavy furniture that can tip over and use safety straps to secure. Use secure latches to ensure cabinet doors will not fly open during severe shaking, and place heavy objects on lower shelves and secure with museum wax.

Stash an office earthquake/emergency kit somewhere easily accessible. We will cover what to put in your kit in a future blog post.

Stay tuned for more earthquake safety tips and advice!

Sources: Earthquake-Proof Your Home, National Safety Council: Emergency Preparedness