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The Big One Might Be Coming.... Are You Ready?



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By : Lauren Spencer    99 or more times read
How to prepare your home for an earthquake

In light of the recent devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, one is left wondering; when is the "big one" going to hit here and, am I prepared?

Although the extensive damage and loss of life in Haiti and Chile were largely due to sub-standard infrastructure, we cannot assume that we will be safe if a major quake strikes North America. Preparing your home for an earthquake, or any other natural disaster, is not that difficult and with the wealth of resources out there to help you, earthquake proofing your home to protect your family and belongings is something everyone should seriously consider.

To begin with, you need to do an assessment of your home to determine the hazard areas and safe areas. Hazard areas would include: brick fireplaces, windows, mirrors, hanging objects, shelves with heavy objects on them, and tall furniture items. Start by moving large, heavy, and fragile objects to lower shelves and securing tall furniture (including your hot water tank) to the walls. Hang heavy items, pictures, mirrors, etc. away from beds and couches and brace overhead lighting and fans. Make sure all flammable liquids and dangerous chemicals are stored in a secure location. Ensure electrical and gas connections are in good condition and inspect for deep cracks in ceilings and foundations.

During the quake, and the subsequent aftershocks, everyone must go to a safe zone. Safe zones in the home can be found next to interior walls, under sturdy furniture, and in doorways. Practice drills need to be conducted with the entire family so everyone is familiar with the locations of the safe zones. A meeting place should also be determined in case the family becomes separated.

Preparation for after the event is also very important. Make sure your family has a plan and be prepared for a loss of utilities, loss of or compromised communications, compromised transportation (roadways, transit, airports), compromised emergency response, overcrowded hospitals, looting, and curfews. Always keep a list of emergency phone numbers; however, do not use the phone unless you are in urgent need of help as communications lines will likely be overloaded or damaged. You should have enough water and non-perishable food to last at least 3 days (1 gallon of water/person/day) and you should always have at least one week worth of required prescription medicines on hand. It is also a very good idea to have at least one person in the household trained in first aid, CPR, and the proper use of an all purpose fire extinguisher. And, do not forget that there will most likely be aftershocks that can cause as much damage as the original quake.

An emergency kit should be assembled and stored in a safe place, preferably in a secure container outside of your home in case your home is severely damaged. The kit should include (at a minimum):

  • Work gloves

  • Tools (shovel, axe, crowbar, hammer& nails, screwdrivers)

  • Tarps

  • Tent and sleeping bags

  • Clothing and good walking shoes

  • Cash (small bills and coins)

  • Flashlights and extra batteries

  • Battery powered radio

  • Alternative cooking source

Along with these guidelines, it is also important to check with your insurance underwriter to make sure you have the appropriate coverage for your region. You should also check with your local municipality for community emergency plans and consult FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) for national strategies and a complete set of guidelines.

By following these guidelines you can give yourself the peace of mind in knowing that you have prepared your home in a manner that will maximize the safety of your family and your belongings.
Everything you need to know about Santa Cruz real estate is right here at MySantaCruzRealEstate.com. Lauren Spencer, Coldwell Banker Realtor will be glad to answer your questions about homes in Depot Hill CA.

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