This blog post is one in a series leading up to the Great Utah ShakeOut. Click here for more information or here to register for the ShakeOut.
Yesterday, we covered pretty thoroughly the startling truth: An earthquake is going to happen in
Identify Potential Hazards
When an earthquake hits, your house/apartment is going to start shaking. And depending on how violent the earthquake is, things are going to start falling off of walls and getting knocked over. The first thing you should do is look around for things that are not secured and might fall during a quake.
Look for and do the following as you are surveying your house:
While big furniture and lots of collectibles and keepsakes can turn a house into a home, they can turn a home into a killing field in an earthquake if not properly secured.
- Move large, top- heavy furniture (like book cases) away from beds and places where people sit.
- Use earthquake safety straps to secure shelves, book cases, wardrobes and other heavy pieces to your walls.
- Move heavy and framed art away from beds and areas where people sit. Used closed hooks (available at most hardware stores) to secure heavy, framed art to the walls.
- Collectibles, small nick-nacks and tchotchkes may look great on the shelf, but can cause real damage to people during an earthquake. Make sure small collectibles are secured to their shelves using removable earthquake putty, museum wax or earthquake gel(available at most hardware stores).
Water and Gas Pipes:
All piping can break in an earthquake. A broken water pipe can turn just some minor damage into a total loss. When gas lines break, houses can catch fire or explode if they are not seen to quickly.
- Evaluate and fix any old or rusted pipes in your home. If you're not the handy type, hire a plumber to do this.
- Exchange rigid connections to hot water heaters, stoves, dryers, and other gas appliances with flexible (or corrugated) connections. This would be another great job for the plumber.
- Know where the main shut off for your gas and water is, and keep a wrench right next to it at all times. (I should note that you should NOT try practicing turning off your gas. Only turn it off in a real emergency, since to get it back on, you will have to pay someone from the utilities company to come to your house and do it for you).
- Secure your water heater to the wall using metal straps and lag screws (your local hardware store will have these).
Safe and Secure
Unsecured cabinets mean all of that china from your Aunt Mabel will just come falling on your head when an earthquake strikes.
- Secure all over-head cabinets. Child-proofing latches work great for this.
- Secure the refrigerator to the wall using earthquake appliance straps.
Other things to consider
Do not secure flammable or toxic chemicals in the garage, or somewhere that they could spill in an earthquake.
- Don't store heavy things above your cars in the garage, and if you do, make sure they are latched and secured. You may need your car to evacuate.
- Home electronics like TVs, computers of stereo systems should be strapped down using nylon straps and buckles so they can easily be removed and relocated.
We can never know exactly when an earthquake will strike. All of the things listed above are small, simple fixes to make your home safer and more secure should the worst happen.
Check back tomorrow to learn about creating a plan for an earthquake.
Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country: Your Handbook for Earthquakes in
Great post! I live on the East coast and while earthquakes aren't common here we had a mild shake up last year. We need to be aware of what to do because it can help in other emergencies and in the event that we do have a noticeable one here.
This was a good article with things to keep in mind.
Good information. Thanks for sharing.
Excellent…hope some of the products are easily available in California.
Excellent information. I am so glad to have found your blog! Thank you for making sure we are all informed!
We've had a few light rumbles in the last few years, but you never know when something bigger will happen.
I live near the New Madrid fault zone, so I know it's a matter of time before a big one hits.
Nature related hazards never really concerned me until about 10 years ago as I noticed each year storms, quakes and other weather related devestations growing in numbers and intensity each year. Thanks for the tips you give about being prepared.
I agree… we have earthquakes here, too
Great article, I need to be more prepared for an earthquake, I have just begun my prepping, so am a very new prepper, I love your site it has been so helpful! I get very excited getting my packages in the mail, I have a long way to go but step by step I am getting there
I was surprised by the earthquake here on the east coast. But then again, I have been expecting one for quite a while. After all, that is how the mountains were created.
Not much call for that here in NH, Thank God!
I live in Kentucky and apparently we are on a fault line. Never in my life did I expect to have to worry about surviving an earthquake till now. Better to be prepared than to be sorry.
never thought of flexible piping connections. great idea
This was helpful info. I live in Oregon and we are as likely to have an earthquake as anywhere. I think securing our heavy bookshelves is now on my 'to do' list. Thank you for access to great ideas and information.
I learn something new every time I visit this site, which is almost daily. So many informative posts with so much learning potential.
Thank you !!!
I know I need to do these things, after all I used to live in California! thanks for the good reminder and excellent list.
Good information! Thank you!
We've been having tremors in Colorado. Has made me rethink some things, like stacking jars high on shelves.
I hadn't really considered 'quake proofing' the our home. Good tips, thanks.
Don't forget to include any pets in the shake out…..practice disaster plans with pets to reduce the stress on all family members.
While not in an active earthquake area, we did have a 5.3 tremor here in SE Michigan about 15 yrs. ago. We worry more about cold/snow along with power outages and tornadoes. Just had a tornado 2 miles from my house (Dexter, MI) a month ago. It pays to be prepared not only for yourself, but also to be able to help your neighbors in an emergency. P.S. A wrench to shut off the gas line in your house is a great idea. Came in handy when a neighbor went house to house turning off the gas to damaged homes and appliances after the recent tornado!
Great reminders and new tips.
Central CA here, so everything gets shaker proofed.
Thanks for the tips.
I live in Indiana where no one prepares for earthquakes yet we had 3 last year around 4.0. This is great info for our area. Thanks
Thanks for sharing the information. Although I have already strapped most heavy items to the wall because of small children, I need to do more. I never thought of securing the water heater
B. K. Hall
B. K. Hall
Pretty amazing stuff. Good info to know.
I really appreciate the efforts your extending for our education !
Great idea. My area (NE) is not seismically active but would be affected by the New Madrid fault.
If you are in Utah definitely participate in the Shake Out next week. Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On…then work on your plans.
I am new to all this and had kept myself in the dark for a long time. I am now opening my eyes and trying to get my self better prepared for any type of emergency situation. This had some awesome ideas. I am now trying to think of other things I may need to do around the house that will help me and my family be better prepared.
Earthquake preparedness is important in any state!
What brands do you suggest for the "earthquake straps"? Do you sell them at your store?
These tips are helpful. We have had tremors and they get your attention.
Wow—lots of great advice and things I had never thought of before. I will have to inspect our house and see what needs to be done.
Great info. In my state, not known for having lots of quakes, I did end up feeling a small one that was located about 35 miles South West of us. What's worse is we have a very large dam in our community and it had to be repaired a few years back due to cracks and such. Granted I'm on the high ground and the water would flow the other way should it break, but still scary.
Almost skipped over this article since our home isn't in an active earthquake area, not something we think or worry about much. . . .but your opening paragraph caught my attention! It CAN happen anywhere and those of us who think it won't (and therefore aren't as prepared)are the ones who will see the most damage in the odd event that we are hit with a quake. . . good tips, thanks!!
Also, keep a bag with shoes, gloves, a flashlight, and a whistle attached to your bed post. Then if/when an earthquake happens at night you'll have instant access to all the initial needed supplies.
Thanks for the tips! Anyone serious about being prepared should think about this. I live in central Virginia and we never thought it could happen to us but it did. Lots of broken valuables. I would also be sure to check you home owners insurance, while it might not be worth it better to know if you have it before something happens.
Love this article! I appreciate all the information – it's good for homes with kids too. I'm always looking for things to secure and bolt down, just in case :)
I live in Northern California, so a major earthquake is my most likely emergency scenario. Thanks for the tips!
it's the next thing on my list for prepareness
This is so sad. My town has nothing in the way of preparing going on here in Tennessee…even with the New Madrid fault issue on hand. No tornado sirens, no classes for first aid/CPR. They just depend on the county for what might go on. I'm envious of Utah for their prepping efforts.
I think it is great that y'all are giving away items to promote your business
The natural disasters that happen in the unexpected regions, typically are a lot more powerful than common ones. What happens when the house falls down and you don't have shelter. Getting a tent can really solve this issue and you can even go camping with it if their is no emergency.
I am concerned about the midwest and the New Madrid faultline. Activity is definately increasing. I appreciate all the info you provide particularly since people here in this area don't feel such an event is even possible, so not well informed or prepared.