Are You And Your Home Earthquake-Ready?
Despite predictions by scientists that a major earthquake probably will not occur in your area for hundreds of years, it would be foolish
to depend on that for the safety of your family and home. The monstrously destructive quakes in Haiti
and Japan are reminders that these can occur often without any warning
whatsoever. Having emergency food and
water, as well as alternative shelter and a first aid kit on hand will help you
and your family survive regardless of the damage done to your home, but getting
your home ready for a bad earthquake can save a good deal of misery and
Examine The Outside
The first place to check is the foundation of your
home. If there are cracks in it, these
could widen and split if a quake strikes.
Repairing these is a good first step and also make sure that your house
is anchored to the foundation – many older houses are not, but this can be
remedied with anchor bolts. If you have
a chimney, check to be certain that it is in good repair, and as with the
foundation, repair cracks and replace missing bricks. While you are in the basement, secure your
water heater to the wall with straps. It
is also a good idea to make sure that the connections for gas and water that
come into your house are flexible so that they will be less likely to snap
during earth movement.
In The House Itself
Any large, heavy, upright pieces of
furniture should be bolted to the floor or the wall so that they will not crash
down on anyone during an earthquake.
Likewise, do not put picture frames or mirrors above sofas or chairs as
they could fall off the wall onto someone beneath.
Child-proof latches have proven their worth in preventing
small children from getting into spaces where they might find harmful
substances. These latches are equally
good at keeping your kitchen cabinets more secure during an earthquake. The latches will prevent the cabinet doors
from flying open and spilling the contents onto the floor.
Undoubtedly, your home contains expensive equipment such as
computers, televisions, or stereos. In
order to prevent these from being destroyed during an earthquake, you might
find it a good idea to strap these items to the table or shelf where they are
kept. A strap will allow you to move the
object without trouble.
You And Your Family
Everyone in the family who is capable of moving on their own
should understand what areas of the house are safest during an earthquake and
which should be avoided. They should
also be instructed to get out of the house if possible, and how to place
themselves in the ‘triangle of life’ if they find themselves unable to leave
the building. Have drills that address
this subject, and if you have children, make the drill enjoyable so that the
youngsters will be happy to do it. In
case the family is separated during the day, or at any other time, have two
predetermined meeting spots – one right near the house, and one a bit farther
off in the neighborhood.