Are You Prepared for the Earth to Move?

Did you feel the earthquake last Thursday? On a scale of can’t-feel-it to the 9.5 that shook Valdivia, Chile in 1960, it was pretty minor. It was also very unusual. We here in the Central Valley tend to get kind of complacent about seismic safety. Davis doesn’t usually feel the earth move unless there’s a sizable event in Tahoe or the Bay Area because there are so few known faults running through the area.

Key word – “known.”

If you grew up in California, you probably are well-versed in how to prep your life and home for minimal damage and maximum survivability, but the Davis Enterprise recently offered some good reminders:

Did you know that much of the havoc caused by earthquakes is not structural damage to buildings, but due to items falling, thrown around or broken inside buildings because they were not properly secured? This damage may not be covered by insurance, even if you have an earthquake policy.

Here are some simple things you can do that could save you a big repair bill.

* Secure bookcases or cabinets to the wall so they won’t tip.
* Add latches to cabinet doors. Rubberized shelf mats stop valuables sliding out.
* Secure heavy appliances to stop them tipping or sliding.
* Brace your water heater with two heavy gauge steel straps (not plumber’s tape) that loop around it and screw into the studs or masonry of the wall.
* Install an automatic gas shut-off valve.

There’s nothing quite as effective as an earthquake to remind us of how absolutely out of our control some things are. An ounce of prevention is absolutely worth more than a pound of cure. Mother Nature just gently tapped on our collective shoulder. Listen to her and take a few minutes now to minimize potential damage later.