Making Your Home Safer
During an earthquake, flying and falling debris cause the majority of injuries and significant financial loss. Conducting a home hazard hunt to identify and eliminate non-structural hazards can help to protect your family and your home.
To conduct a home hazard hunt
- make it a family project: assign a different room to each member of the family.
- walk through each room and identify any objects that could fall and injure someone, cause a fire, block an exit route or doorway, or would be costly to replace.
- once the hazards have been identified, determine whether the hazard can be eliminated by moving it, removing it, relocating it or securing it
Some ideas to increase the safety of your home during an earthquake
- Relocate heavy items from top shelves or cupboards to the lower shelves. These items can also be secured in place using braces, industrial strength velcro or quake wax.
- Relocate beds away from windows and heavy objects that could fall. Wheels or casters on bed should be locked.
- Keeping the blinds or curtains closed can reduce the amount of flying glass especially in the bedroom. Consider adding shatter-resistant or security film to windows or install tempered or safety glass to prevent glass from flying into the room when it is broken. Remember to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under your bed.
- Restrain heavy or large furniture such as bookcases, cabinets. You can use metal braces or durable straps with thumb latches to secure these items to the wall studs.
- Restrain or secure mirrors and pictures firmly with velcro or a wire attached to eye screws mounted into the studs. Remove large picture frames from head of the bed.
The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in your home to be in when the earthquake strikes. Relocate the contents of your kitchen cupboards so that breakables and heavy items are in the bottom drawers or shelves and non-breakables up above. Restrain the cupboard doors with special safety latches. Your fridge and stove can become cannonballs during the shaking from an earthquake. Restrain large appliances by locking the wheels and securing to the wall studs. Restrain microwaves, computers, stereo equipment and other expensive items. You can use hooks, brackets, velcro, wire or commercial fasteners and hardware.
Restraining your hot water tank is extremely important! If your hot water tank topples over during an earthquake, it can rupture the gas line and start a fire. It is also the source of 40-60 gallons of water that can be used for washing.
Hanging plants should be firmly secured with closed hooks away from windows.
Check for toxic chemicals in breakable containers. Relocate these to a location outside the home or ensure that they are safely stored.