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What to do before and after an Earthquake

 

Before an Earthquake:  Checklist for Preparing Your Home
 
While inspecting your home thoroughly, try to imagine everything that can happen in each room during a violent earthquake.  Then, gradually check off the items on your list as you fix them.
  • Teach all members of your family (if they are old enough) how to turn off the water and power to your house.
  • Clearly mark the “open” and “closed” positions of your water supply, electricity, and gas.  If you use natural gas in your home, tie or tape the appropriate wrench needed to close the gas pipe in an easily located place near the actual pipe.
  • Repair or replace loose roof tiles.
  • Attach the water heater and other heavy appliances (stove, washer, dryer) to a post, especially appliances that could break a water or gas pipe if they tip over.
  • Anchor top-heavy furniture and shelves to the wall in order to prevent them from tipping over.  Avoid placing heavy objects on high shelves. 
  • Safely attach mirrors, frames, and other wall hangings in order to prevent them from falling.
  • Keep beds and chairs away from fireplaces and windows.  Don’t hang large frames or other heavy objects above the head of the bed.  Close curtains and blinds to prevent broken glass from falling onto the beds. 
  • Place non-slip mats under televisions, computers, and other small household items.  Or, you can attach them using Velcro.
  • Install childproofing or safety latches to cabinet doors in order to prevent contents from falling out.
  • Keep all flammable products and household chemicals far from heat sources and in the place where they are least likely to spread.
  • Consult a professional to advise you on other ways to protect your home, such as securely fixing the foundation and other techniques on improving the structure.
  • If you live in an apartment building or in a multi-level building, consult the building manager or condo association to decide how to best “earthquake proof” your house.  Ask experts (engineers, authorities, civil protection authorities) if you’re not sure of what to do.
  • If you live in a mobile home you can leave the wheels fixed or install an anchor system that will support the unit and prevent it from falling.  Ensure that the awnings are securely installed.  For more information on how to best anchor a mobile home, contact an association of mobile home owners or an authorized dealer.
Safety Tips
  • Don’t close off your gas valve unless there is a leak or a fire because once shut off, only a qualified technician can re-open it.
  • Consult your broker about earthquake insurance.  Verify your coverage:  it could affect your ability to recover financial losses after an earthquake.