Preparing Your Home for an Earthquake

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Preparing Your Home for an Earthquake

Preparing Your Home for an Earthquake

Earthquakes, one of Mother Nature’s most unsettling phenomena, are unpredictable and can strike without warning. As Californian’s we are extremely familiar with how devastating and scary they can be.


If you grew up here, you likely had earthquake drills, learned how to prepare a emergency kit, and were encouraged by your school to create a safety plan with your family. (If you need a refresher, we review how to do those things here!). But as we’ve purchased or rented more property and maybe even expanded our families, our responsibilities for preparing for an earthquake have changed.


In this article, we’re sharing the specific steps that you can take prior to an earthquake to protect your home as well as the valuables and occupants inside of it.


Earthquake Insurance: The number one thing you may want to consider, is purchasing Earthquake Insurance. Most damage caused by an earthquake will not be covered in your regular homeowners policy, and if earthquake insurance is purchased AFTER the event it also won’t be covered.


Move Wall Hangings: Walk around your home and pay attention to any mirrors, frames, artwork, etc. that is hanging on walls. If they were to fall down, is it possible they would injure anyone, especially if they were sleeping? If so, relocate these items.


Install Latches on Cupboards: During an earthquake is not uncommon for glass and ceramic cups and plates to move around and fall out of cupboards. If someone is standing near them, they could potentially cause a dangerous and/or life threatening situation. A few quick latches installed on cupboards can help alleviate this concern.


Anchor Valuable Keepsakes: Grab some adhesive or putty and anchor down any antique or collectible items you may have on display or on shelves. Make sure you secure these items down well enough that a strong jolt will not break the bond of the adhesive and send the object flying.


Always Anchor Into Studs: Do you have lights, plants or other hanging objects bolted to the ceiling in your home? If so, make sure that they are secure in studs and not simply through the plaster or ceiling panels.


Secure Ceiling Around Chimney: If you have a brick chimney in your home, it’s important that you nail plywood to the ceiling joists surrounding it to protect it from falling bricks.


Locate Gas Shut-Off Valve: You should always know where the gas shut-off valve in your home is and occasionally practice turning it on and off. If during the earthquake, the line happens to break, it’s important that you know how to quickly shut it off so it doesn’t turn into a hazardous fire. You may also want to consider installing an automatic shut-off valve.


Bolt Down and Secure Furniture: Heavy furniture such as dressers, armoires, and bookshelves should be bolted to the wall. Some furniture stores, such as Ikea, Pottery Barn, and Home Depot have kits to help you do this.


Here’s a quick video that walks you through many of the tips we recommend here.


We hope these tips help you keep your home and family safe. If you have any questions about your current homeowners insurance policy or adding an earthquake insurance policy, feel free to contact us.

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