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Living In An Earthquake Zone

Living in an Earthquake zone

Earthquakes occur in places where the plates that make up the crust of the earth are coming together.  Some of the plates will grind alongside each other, as is the case with the San Andreas Fault.  Plates such as these can be quiescent for long periods, building up pressure, then suddenly let loose with a major earthquake.  Young mountain ranges, like the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades, are formed because the plates are pushing up against one another, forming the mountains as they do so.  Many earthquake zones are lovely places to behold, which is probably why so many people live in them.  Probably a majority of the people who live in these spots take an ostrich-like outlook, pretending the risk is not there.  However, if you do live in a place where there is the possibility for a major earthquake, taking a few precautions can save your life and the lives of your family.

Making Your House Safer

Older houses are much more likely to suffer from earthquake damage than newer ones, but there are still things that you can do to prevent some of the damage than may occur with a quake.  Check your foundation for several things, the first of which is cracks.  Cracks are weak spots that will make your home more likely to sustain serious damage if there is an earthquake.  They should be repaired immediately.  You should also see if your home is attached to the foundation with anchor bolts.  These can be retrofitted if they are not there already.

Falling chimneys can cause a great deal of damage during an earthquake.  Not only can they damage the roof of the house, but bricks have even broken through the roof and injured the inhabitants.  The chimney of an older house should be reinforced to prevent this.

Large, heavy items in your home, such as couches, refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances can shift or topple during an earthquake.  It is always advisable to fix these items to the floor to prevent their moving and possibly hurting someone.  You should also strap your hot water heater to the wall to prevent that from toppling over during an earthquake.

Emergency Supplies

If you live in an earthquake zone, you should always anticipate that an earthquake can happen at any time.  Depending on the severity of the quake, you can lose your electricity and water, at the very least, and your home may also be rendered uninhabitable as well.  Stores may be emptied of food very quickly, and food that depends upon refrigeration will spoil.

Having an emergency supply of food and water in your home is one way of protecting your family‚Äôs well being after an earthquake.  If you own pets, emergency food supplies should also be kept for them.  You should also have a first aid kit on hand, to deal with minor wounds.  A tent, extra blankets, emergency lighting and cooking supplies will also make it much easier for you to survive in some degree of comfort after an earthquake.


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