Preparing for Earthquakes
By Nikki Willhite
Think an earthquake couldn't "strike" in your area? Think
again! Although they are most common west of the Rockies, they have hit all over
the US. One of the most severe ones ever recorded in our country happened in the
middle of the United States. While you don't have to become alarmed about this,
everyone should take certain precautions.
If you live in CA- this information is abundant. I couldn't tell
you anything that is not constantly being drilled into your heads. Here's a few
things for the rest of us.
We want our homes to be secure. We don’t have to live in
fortresses, like in medieval times, but we want a measure of security in our
homes- not only from intruders, but from natural disasters. We want to feel safe
and secure where we are living.
When it comes to earthquake insurance- that is a hard decision.
Most earthquake coverage will cost you are much as the regular premium on your
home. Then, if an earthquake does hit- there is usually a 10 percent deductible.
This means that if you live in a $100,000 home- you would have to sustain over
$10,000 worth of damage to collect anything. That is a tough decision. We don't
My husband has looked at hundreds of earthquake damaged homes.
The homes that are most at risk are those made of brick. Wooden homes seem to
ride out the quakes better, as well as homes with basements.
Here are some of the things you can do to prepare your
home in case of an earthquake
Check the foundation. Some houses are bolted into their
foundation. Others just sit on it (EEK)! Unless your garage has been finished
off, you can usually tell by checking the foundation there. If you find your
home just setting on the foundation without being anchored to it- consult your
local hardware store for the best way to secure it.
Gas leaks are one of the most dangerous aftermaths of
earthquakes. We have been told to keep a wrench handy, and know where to turn
off the gas at the street, as well as turning the gas off at the furnace and the
water heater. There is also a "motion sensor" that you can attach to the main
gas line at the front of your house that will automatically turn the gas off in
case the earth moves. You might want to think about installing one of those.
Put a strap around your water heater, so that it doesn’t fall
over and rupture.
Anchor tall furniture to the wall, so that it doesn’t fall over
on a toddler. We use little L shaped metal brackets. They may not be attractive,
but they contribute to our peace of mind.