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When Things Get Shaking: Earthquake Proofing Your California Home

When things get shaking here in California the biggest question you need to ask is: Is your home earthquake-ready? We'd like to provide some great tips and procedures to help in earthquake proofing your California home. Earthauake Proofing Los Angeles Flicker - J J Those of us down in Southern California have recently been experiencing a little earth-moving fun, and though the small quakes hardly do much damage [see a funny video of an overreaction here] there is the potential that larger quakes could follow. The best way to live without worry is to live prepared.

Earthquake Proofing Your Home

Structure

It's no fun thinking that you may need to have your house or building inspected, but when it comes to the structure you live in, being up to code an prepared is 100% worth it. Some key areas that will need to be assessed are your homes foundation, anchoring (where the walls are secured to the foundation), walls, main lines for gas, water, and electricity, as well as your water heater (source: SFGate.com). We recommend checking out the CA.gov Seismic Safety Commission website for more helpful information that is specific to California. Earthquake Proofing Los Angeles Flickr - Jens H.

The Small Stuff

We're always told not to sweat the small stuff, but in this case, paying attention to the little details in your home could save you a lot of trouble should you experience an earthquake. Here is a list of items to consider securing to the wall:
  • Bookcases
  • Televisions
  • Top-heavy or tall furniture (armories, entertainment centers, dressers)
  • Refrigerators and other large kitchen appliances
Earthquak Proofing California Flickr - Jeremy Levine Here is a list of items you should consider moving or altering:
  • Large or heavy items placed on top shelves (move to lower shelves)
  • Adding latches to kitchen cabinet drawers
  • Heavy or large wall art above beds (move away from bed)
When you can single out these potential issue areas, a few quick fixes will mean a world of difference should things start to shake.

Earthquake Kit

Being prepared goes past evaluating your home or living space. When you've got a handy earthquake kit ready, you can rest easy knowing that you're prepared no matter what. These items could come in handy in other situations as well so it's a win-win. Earthquake Proofing California Flickr - Kristian Niemi Suggested Earthquake Proofing Kit items:
  • Water - Store a pack of water bottles (recommended 3 day supply) and calculate a ration of four quarts per person per day at minimum.
  • Food - In this case, canned goods are a great way to go (don't forget the can opener!). You should also consider snacks and calorie-heavy foods such as peanut butter, granola, oatmeal, protein bars, nuts, and whole-grain crackers.
  • Medicine - Have a backup supply of any necessary medicines just in case.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Additional clothing
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights & batteries (consider investing in a phone battery charger for emergency calls or to check the earthquake app for information)
  • Simple tools (wrench to turn off gas etc.)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Essential documents stored in a safe
TotallyUnprepared.com recommends purchasing a large trashcan with a waterproof lid to store all of your earthquake proofing items in. Check out their site for additional information on making your own kit. Earthquake Proofing Sunset Flickr - Joe Burke We hope these tips help you to feel confident and secure that, no matter what happens, you can be assure you're earthquake proofing is complete. Living worry free in California is always the way to go!

Sources: Earthquake Safety & Survival and How Stuff Works Cover Photo from Flickr by Paree


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