Earthquakes are natural calamities and very destructive ones at that. Despite knowing the damage an earthquake can cause, many are still caught flatfooted when one strikes. Prevention and planning is vital. While we cannot stop an earthquake from hitting our place, we can save ourselves a lot of time and money if we know how to prevent earthquake damage. Here is a checklist of the things that need to be done.
- Secure furniture and other property
Preventing earthquake damage is mostly about securing your belongings. Toppling furniture and objects falling off their designated places, account for most of the financial loss that may be incurred during earthquakes. Ensure that glass cabinets, bookshelves, and other tall furniture are securely anchored to the wall or floor.
Appliances like televisions, computers, stereo equipment, and the like should likewise be properly secured. There are a number of materials available to do just that. You may use adhesive-backed latches, nylon cords, wires, elastic guardrails, and shelf edges to stop these from sliding down to the floor.
- Install and secure latches on cabinets
Install strong latches on kitchen cabinet doors, storage closets, cupboards, and filing cabinets. Earthquakes would shake open doors and drawers, and the presence of latches would keep the contents of these cabinets from spilling over, thereby preventing much damage. Items stored inside the cabinets should also be positioned correctly with the heavy items on the lower shelves, and the breakable objects in their original packing boxes if possible.
- Secure light fixtures and other hanging objects
Light fixtures, pictures, mirrors and other hanging objects are also quite susceptible to cause damage during earthquakes. Pictures and mirrors should be properly secured on eyebolts on the wall, while lighting fixtures are best anchored on the ceiling’s structural support. In addition, do not hang heavy objects near the bed and in areas where people usually sit.
- Store hazardous materials in a safe place
Hazardous chemicals such as paints, acids, and pesticides are extremely dangerous when spilled and mixed inadvertently. This could ignite fires and lead to severe losses. To prevent such damage, hazardous materials should be placed in appropriate containers, sealed tightly, and stored in a dry and secure area where the container is less likely to overturn if earthquake strikes.
- Anchor fuel tanks and wood-burning stoves to the floor
Fuel and propane tanks could also overturn easily in case an earthquake takes place, rupturing the tank, and thereby causing a fire. The same goes for wood-burning and other-free standing stoves. These pieces of household equipment should all be anchored firmly on the floor to keep them upright and prevent them from causing damage.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Fire extinguishers are very useful to have on hand in the event of an earthquake. Small fires may ignite here and there, and the best way to prevent further damage is to nip those fires in the bud.
No time is too early to prevent earthquake damage. Act now.