You have a better chance of surviving and minimizing damage to your home if you take the following preventive measures:
- Make sure the house is bolted to its foundation.
- Make sure the walls are braced.
- Repair loose roof shingles.
- Make sure the chimneys are strong and well-braced.
- Tie down the water heater and other heavy appliances (stove, washer, dryer) that could break gas or water lines if they topple.
- Secure top-heavy furniture and shelving units to prevent tipping. Keep heavy items on lower shelves.
- Affix mirrors, paintings and other hanging objects securely, so they won’t fall off hooks. Locate beds and chairs away from chimneys and windows. Don’t hang heavy pictures and other items over beds. Closed curtains and blinds will help stop broken window glass from falling on beds.
- Put anti-skid pads under TVs, VCRs, computers and small appliances or secure them with Velcro or other such product.
- Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out.
- Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they are less likely to spill.
- Put plywood up in the attic on joists around each chimney to help prevent bricks and mortar from coming through the ceiling. (Check clearances with your local fire department.)
Discuss earthquake insurance with your insurance agent. Check your coverage