Protecting your home from an earthquake

 
 
A Cracked Sidewalk Leading Into The Sun In A Neighborhood
 

Life along the West coast of the country is beautiful and scenic up until the very moment it isn't. From devastating forest fires to shattering earthquakes, it's absolutely vital that you and your home are prepared for whatever comes your way.

Being "earthquake ready" entails a number of inspections and checks, from the foundation to the windows. Hiring a professional to perform a seismic retrofit (which guarantees your home is braced for upcoming shakes and quakes) is the easiest route to take. Here's what you can expect from their visit.

Gas Shutoff

Managing an automatic gas shutoff system is one of the most important parts of earthquake preparation; it could mean the difference between a house that's slightly damaged and one that's been reduced to ash and rubble.

Usually, your gas lines are left on until you turn them off. This can obviously be extremely dangerous if walls are cracking and ceilings are falling down. Though your first thought may turn to your furnace or heat pump (which is responsible for 54% of your utility bills), the true risk lies in those unattended lines.

Foundation

People always talk about building strong foundations, both metaphorically and physically. If you want your house to withstand the tremors of a serious earthquake without collapsing, you need to ensure that its foundation is solid.

As a part of the seismic retrofit, inspectors will examine your foundation for any weak points. Most houses have wooden frames, and those built after 1978 (when the first seismic code was put in place) won't be bolted to their foundation. As needed, your retrofitters will add extra bolts to ensure stability and strength.

Water Heater

One of the common aftereffects of earthquakes is their lack of basic amenities: hot water, clean clothes -- even clean water in general. Your water heater can provide some much-needed relief, provided it hasn't toppled over during the quake.

Strapping your water heater down ahead of time is the best way to keep it safe. At the very least, you won't have to travel or wait extensive periods of time to receive drinkable water, especially in the ensuing chaos.

 
Steffan Kasula