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Is Your Home Prepared for an Earthquake?

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We all know we should prepare our household for natural disasters such as an earthquake, but yet it is so easy for many of us to procrastinate and think the fury of Mother Nature will not affect us.

An earthquake can strike suddenly– anytime of the day or night and anytime of year. California is notorious for catastrophic earthquakes; however, geologists have determined a total of 42 states in the United States have potential for seismic activity in the coming 50 years.

With no early warning system available to alert people of an impending earthquake, there is no time like the present to be prepared. Remember, when an earthquake strikes, the time to prepare has passed!

Let’s get down to some of the basics for earthquake preparedness in your home BEFORE one strikes:

  • Secure your water heater to the wall with approved strapping found at any home improvement store.
  • Know where your main shutoffs are located on your property for gas, water and electrical.
  • Install a seismic shutoff valve that automatically turns off natural gas to your home in the event of an earthquake. These can be purchased and installed by a licensed professional plumber or contractor. Be sure to let your homeowner’s insurance carrier know when it’s installed as a policy credit may be available.
  • Own an older home? Depending on what state you are in and the Uniform Building Code for your area, have a licensed contractor check to make sure:
    • Your home is securely bolted/anchored (retrofitted) to the foundation
    • The chimney is stable and secure
    • The roof and walls are securely constructed and tied down for stability
  • Secure heavy furnishings, appliances and bookcases to the walls and floors. Pay special attention to the garage and kitchen, which are the most dangerous rooms to be in when an earthquake occurs.
  • Prepare (or purchase) and Emergency Preparation Kitmaintain a first aid kit for your entire family.
  • Maintaining an emergency supply kit is essential for all households in the event of an earthquake, but also any other natural disaster or local crisis that can occur. There are many excellent 72-hour supply kits available for purchase from the American Red Cross, local retailers or online vendors.

Keep in mind emergency services such as police, fire and medical are often overwhelmed following an earthquake and may be slow or unable to reach people in need. Having staple items for survival for 72 hours following a natural disaster is critical to the safety and comfort of you and your family.

Future blogs will address earthquake preparedness measures in greater detail. Click here to see additional earthquake preparedness blogs

Geannie Brubaker is a Premier Account Specialist with Chubb Personal Risk Services’ Risk Consulting Group. She is based in Southern California.

This article originally appeared as “Hurricane Preparedness 101" on the Risk Conversation blog on Jan. 30, 2017.

Learn More About Earthquake Protection

The Chubb Catastrophe Center provides loss mitigation and prevention information for earthquakes and other calamaties like hurricanes, wildfires and floods.