Minor earthquakes can damage our properties and expose potential weak areas of the home. This is because in parts of the country that do not see a great deal of seismic activity the building codes governing earthquake preparedness are not as strict which means that even minor tremors could potentially cause some damage. Let’s look at a couple of areas in the home that may benefit from added support.
Make sure that the foundations of the home are in good condition. Check that they securely fixed to the house itself and look for any signs of deteriorations such as crumbling or cracking cement. Even a small amount of ground movement could make this problem worse.
An extremely serious issue that often occurs during an earthquake is leaking gas. Any appliances that run on natural gas should be secured to the floor or wall. A manual shutoff gas valve should be very clearly labeled and have easy and clear access to it so that it is easy to turn off in a hurry.
The chimney is another area that can become very unstable after any type of ground movement. If the chimney is damaged it can run the risk of collapsing into the home which would potentially cause serious injury to anyone inside. If you have an unreinforced masonry chimney, it can be secured using sheet metal straps and angle bracing. You should also place children’s play areas away from the chimney’s location.
Securing freestanding appliances such as the water heater is another way to reduce the risk of damage during a minor earthquake. This can be done using metal straps.
There are many more ways a home can be made safe against ground movement, but these brief suggestions will help get you started.