Earthquakes are as inevitable as weather, but there are time-tested methods to minimize physical damage to your home and harm to your family. Although the science of earthquake prediction is just beyond infancy, quakes are predicted across all of America in the next 20 years. Earthquake safety begins with earthquake preparedness.
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Safeguard Your Loved Ones from Earthquakes
Protect your family and property by inspecting your home for weakness that can turn to disasters in a quake. First, make sure your home is bolted to its foundation for earthquake stability. Unbolted homes can slide off foundations in an earthquake, rendering them uninhabitable. Bolts should be no more than 6 feet apart. You may need a contractor, so be sure to follow local seismic building standards and codes.
Next, secure the contents of your home against severe tremors. Bolt bookcases and cabinets to wall studs, install latches on cabinets and closets, brace your light fixtures, and remove heavy mirrors and pictures if they hang over beds or couches. Is your water heater strapped to a wall stud? Install flexible hoses and pipe fittings that allow some give. Bolt down any gas-fired appliances that can burst into flame after a quake.
Buy Earthquake Insurance
Basic homeowners policies usually do not cover earthquake damage. Earthquake insurance is available in every state. Does the policy cover the entire cost to fix or replace your home and possessions? Does it cover relocation and living costs if you have to abandon your home for repairs? Be sure you know your responsibilities for deductibles and whether there are exclusions in coverage. And don’t forget to keep a supply of fresh water, batteries, and preserved foods at home.