A strong earthquake can cause some of the most terrifying seconds of one’s life. While we cannot prevent acts of nature, we can prepare ourselves and our families in the event they might occur.
The US Geological Survey has compiled this list of states that get the most 3.5 Magnitude and above quakes.
Earthquake damage can occur even if the earthquake is not centered in your state.
Is your home earthquake-ready? Evaluate your house. There are now strict building codes that ensure a house can withstand an earthquake. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, some states and local communities do not strictly implement the International Residential Code. So how do you know the house you built or bought is compliant? You can check your house’s lateral strength by requesting for a foundation inspection.
Retrofit your house. Should your house fail the inspection, prioritize retrofitting it. This process protects your house from the impact of earthquakes by ensuring its’ structure is properly braced and bolted to its’ foundation.
Secure cabinets, shelves and appliances. It is best to fix cabinets to the wall. Lock the wheels of your movable shelves. Place heavy boxes and objects in the bottom shelves.
Use flexible wires for water and gas piping, and install automatic shut-off valves on main pipes. Check your main electrical switch and learn how to turn it off after a huge earthquake.
Prepare a go-bag. In case of an emergency, have a bag stuffed with the necessities: a lightweight blanket, a change of clothes, a flashlight, all your important documents, packed food, a Swiss knife, a bottle of drinking water, and other necessities. Check out our list for what your emergency go-bag should contain.
Orient your family. Teach your family the basic safety procedure during an earthquake: duck, cover and hold on. Everybody should know the best place to take cover during an earthquake (strong, sturdy fixtures). Agree on a meeting place in case a huge quake prevents you from reaching each other. Have everyone memorize each other’s mobile phone numbers and emergency hotlines. A great way to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On is by joining the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. Check out Shakedown.org for schedules and how to participate. Why should you join? Shakedown.org says that earthquakes can strike anywhere and at any time. Be prepared, survive and recover quickly!
There’s no better time to protect your house and your family from the real dangers of earthquakes. Have any leads on the best retrofitting service providers? Or do you have a favorite earthquake-proof safety tip? Let us know in the comments section!
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