The earthquake that jolted Southern California this weekend provides an important reminder that earthquake preparedness is vitally important--and not just in California! Earthquakes occur in every single state in the Union--and that mans everyone needs to take some time to prepare their home and workspace to be safe during a quake.
What You Can Do to Prepare
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the safety of your home (and the people inside it!) during a quake:
- Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
- Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches, or anywhere people sleep or sit.
- Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
- Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
- Place large and heavy objects and breakable items (bottled foods, glass or china) on lower shelves.
- Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to joists.
- Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
- Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
- Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
- Have a professional make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation. Ask for strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
- Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
- Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
- Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
- Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.