All eyes still remain in Syria and Turkey where a massive earthquake has taken thousands of lives and caused billions-worth of damage.
Fear over the next devastating quake in our area is something that California residents know well. As the saying goes, it’s not about if an earthquake will strike, but rather when.
That’s why the California-based nonprofit EPIC-FSC, a coalition of Calabasas residents who work to ensure homes are safeguarded from natural disasters, has released a list of tips to make sure your home is ready for the “big one.”
“Experts tell us a quake as strong as magnitude 8.2 is possible on the southern San Andreas fault and would bring disaster to all of Southern California, including right here in Calabasas,” said EPIC-FSC President Brian Cameron. “Earthquake safety starts with being prepared. Now is the time to organize disaster supplies and strengthen your house against earthquake damage.”
While most modern homes are designed to withstand the rattling and shaking from a powerful earthquake, more than 1 million homes built before 1980 are considered to be vulnerable without retrofitting.
EPIC-FSC is encouraging its neighbors in Calabasas to contact the organization for a free “home hardening assessment,” to determine what can be done to make sure homes are prepared for quakes.
But if you live outside of Calabasas, the organization has compiled some tips and suggestions so you can assess the safety of your own home.
1. Fit gas appliances with flexible connections and/or a breakaway gas shut-off device, or install a main gas shut-off device.
2. Secure water heater(s) to walls.
3. Anchor bookcases and filing cabinets to walls.
4. Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling out.
5. Install ledge barriers on shelves, place heavy items on lower shelves, and secure large, heavy items and breakables directly to shelves.
6. Attach computers and small appliances to desks, tables, or countertops.
7. Secure ceiling lights, suspended ceilings, and other hanging items, such as chandeliers and plants to the permanent structure of your house.
8. Apply safety film to windows and glass doors.
9. Anchor large appliances to walls using safety cables or straps. Lock the rollers of any large appliances or pieces of furniture.
10. If the structural elements of your home need reinforcing, some of the most important and common retrofits include adding anchor bolts or steel plates between your home and its foundation.
EPIC-FSC encourages residents to become Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certified through FEMA, or though your nearest local program. Calabasas also has a local emergency radio program that residents can join, and EPIC-FSC says it will help those interested purchase a radio.