Consumer News

Ready SoCal: Earthquake-ready house

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

If a disaster were to hit Southern California, how prepared would you be? Experts take a look at how ready your home would be if an earthquake hit, for example.

"Our golden rule is if it's tall enough to hurt you, then it needs to be secured," said Brian Lowe, Ready America.

Expert Brian Lowe says you should look for tall, top-heavy items first. Items like bookcases and armoires could topple over during a strong earthquake, which could block your way out. In addition, these items could even fall on you or a loved one.

"Not only do they become a danger to people because of the fact that they could topple over if there's an earthquake, you can imagine there is a monetary aspect as well. You've got to replace all this stuff," said Lowe.

Lowe suggests investing in straps that can attach your furniture to the wall. You can also purchase straps to hold your television sets in place.

"One end of it has industrial-strength adhesive and under the adhesive is some industrial-strength Velcro. That allows you to move it in case you want to move your TV later on," said Lowe.

Experts also suggest keeping your home office secure by strapping down your computer, printer and monitor.

Wall hangings are also fragile, but the right tools can help stabilize them.

Instead of using an open-ended hook, pick up a closed hook, and then use museum putty on the corners of the frame. This will help keep the frame from swaying.

As for crystal vases, frames and other collectibles, an adhesive gel can help secure them without damaging surfaces.

You should also take a walk outside and locate your gas valve. If you don't have an automatic shut-off valve, learn how to turn it off.

The items needed to earthquake-proof your home are not expensive. You can buy all the products you need for less than $100 at any home improvement center. In addition, the work only takes a few hours.

"It's inexpensive insurance. Gives you peace of mind that knowing that your family - your loved ones - are going to be protected in the event of an earthquake," said Lowe.

Lastly, make sure your family has an emergency escape plan, including a designated meeting spot. You should even consider deciding on an out-of-state contact to call and check with if an emergency occurs.

For more information:

Ready (Disaster preparedness)
Prepare, plan and stay informed with Ready.com.
Visit the Web site for Ready.com

FEMA: Are you ready?
An in-depth guide to citizen preparedness by FEMA.
Visit the Web site for FEMA

Red Cross Disaster Services
American Red Cross preparedness information.
Visit the Web site for the American Red Cross

 

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