Monday, December 23, 2013

Earthquake home safety tips

Earthquakes are difficult to predict, so for your personal safety, it’s important to be guarded at all times and be aware of safety tips and precautions. Having a game plan and knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake will prevent unnecessary injuries and damages. 

Contrary to popular belief, doorways will not provide enough cover in an earthquake.

Home safety

Most deaths and injuries that occur during earthquakes are due to collapsing walls, shattering glass and flying objects. Reorganize your home in order to avoid these earthquake hazards.

  1. For display cabinets and open shelving, keep heavier items on the bottom shelves. This will prevent these bulky items from falling on you and causing injury during an earthquake.
  2. Secure china cabinets, bookcases and other tall furniture to wall studs to keep them from toppling over.
  3. Stow breakable items like china and platters on bottom shelves.
  4. Flammable products such as bug sprays and pesticides should be kept in lower shelves too, as these may become fire hazards.
  5. Use sturdy bolts and latches for cabinet doors. This will prevent the cabinet contents from falling out during an earthquake.
  6. Brace ceiling light fixtures.
  7. To prevent fire hazards, bolt gas appliances onto the ground.
  8. Avoid installing heavy objects such as large mirrors and paintings on walls near seating areas. 

Earthquake preparations

Knowing the dos and don’ts in an earthquake situation could keep you safe.

  1. Contrary to popular belief, doorways will not provide enough cover in an earthquake. A safer place to hide would be under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall well away from windows, which may have shattering glass, and tall furniture, which may topple over.
  2. The standard safety procedure during an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on to a safe place. Drop under a sturdy furniture piece, hold on to it and cover your eyes with your arms.
  3. Assess your home to see where you can potentially hide during an earthquake. Establishing these locations in your mind will make it easier for you to recall them during the chaos of an earthquake.
  4. If you happen to live in a condominium unit, familiarize yourself with the emergency exits, evacuation and safety plans of the building.
  5. Keep an emergency supply kit in a central location that can be easily accessed. Make sure all of your household members know where it is.
  6. Keep a flashlight by your bedside.
  7. Know that earthquakes are commonly followed by aftershocks, which are smaller earthquakes that may cause further damage and injury. The first earthquake may also be a foreshock, followed by a stronger earthquake. - Aislinn Kee

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