Earthquakes are one of the most destructive of nature’s forces. They are caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock, as it releases the energy that has accumulated over a long time.
Ensure your home and other buildings you spend time in are safe during earthquakes, and more resistant to earthquake damage, by assessing their structure and contents. Depending on when and how it was designed and built, the structure you live in may have weaknesses that make it more vulnerable to earthquakes, such as:
- Structures not anchored to their foundations, or having weak crawl space walls
- Weak pier-and-post foundations
- Masonry walls or foundations that are not reinforced
Get professional help to assess the building’s structure, and then take steps to install nonstructural solutions, including foundation bolting, cripple wall bracing, and reinforced chimneys. If you live in a mobile home, consider installing an earthquake-resistant bracing system. If you live in a rented house, ask your landlord or property manager to make the necessary improvements to make the building safer. If you are building or buying a home, ensure that it complies with the seismic provisions of your local building code.
Ensure that plumbers have installed flexible connectors on all gas appliances and repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections, as all of these are potential fire risks. Hire appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
You can also check with your local emergency management office and ask if there are any volunteer teams in your community to help you with these assessments.
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