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How to safeguard your home from an earthquake

To some people, an earthquake is an alien occurrence. They’ve never been through one, and this is unlikely to change in the future.

For others, the opposite is true. Their area is renowned as suffering from them, and they almost have to factor the risks into everyday life.

Their home naturally falls into this category. Once upon a time, homes weren’t built like they are today. They were structurally debatable (to put it mildly), and whether it was their walls or their windows – nothing was really up to the task of defending against natural disasters. Thankfully, modern building techniques mean that this isn’t as much of an issue now.

While materials are sturdier, there are other mechanisms you can turn to in a bid to earthquake-proof your home. Sure, in the very worst of circumstances you might be on a hiding to nothing, but on most occasions the following tips will help your home stay in one piece.

It all starts with the foundation

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the battle when it comes to earthquake comes down to the foundations. One of the main things that you need to look out for is making sure that the wood structure of the house is bolted to the concrete foundation. It’s worth mentioning that if your home is more than 70 years old, there’s a high chance that it won’t. Back then, this just wasn’t part of traditional building methods.

Fortunately, there is good news. You, or a contractor, can secure your foundation fairly simply. There is a guide on this website which shows you how to achieve this.

Understand how to turn off the utilities

While the foundations, roof and other structural issues are often what consumes most attention, something which is often missed is utilities.

Knowing how to shut these off can make a monumental difference if you are unfortunate enough to experience an earthquake. Quite often, the force of the earthquake can cause pipes to dislodge. Whether it is water, electricity or gas – the repercussions of such a leak can be horrendous.

As well as understanding how and where to switch these off, in the case of gas you should take further precautions. After, or during, an earthquake, never use any form of ignition. Again, you just don’t know how much damage the earthquake has done, and if any leaks have occurred.

Non-permanent items can be just as dangerous

So far, much of today’s article has focused on the permanent, major components of a house.

However, sometimes it is the smaller things that can cause the most damage.

Shelves most certainly fall into this category. If you have a huge shelving unit, which isn’t attached to the wall, the effects of this falling can be significant. It might damage your home structurally, but more importantly it might damage someone who is inside the home.

It is for this reason that you must again make sure everything is bolted into position so in the worst-case scenario, and something does dislodge, it’s not going to fall.