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Is your home earthquake ready?

March 18, 2016
Earthquakes happen everywhere, and they cannot be predicted.

If there is a risk of earthquakes in the area you live in, it is vital you take every preventive measure possible to secure your home.

Earthquakes, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency explained, arrive suddenly and unexpectedly. You won't know an earthquake is coming before it hits, so you have to take advanced action to protect your home from damage. Besides, some of the precautionary measures could be bigger, more time-consuming projects. They are worth it though, as they could protect your family from injury and also ensure your home stays standing.

Securing the foundation The San Francisco Chronicle explained that if a home has pier and post foundations, these structural elements should be braced together. In addition, if the soil is too moist it could weaken the foundation. Make sure to regulate your home's moisture level by ensuring your gutters and downspouts are clean and working properly to drain water away from your home.

To find out if your foundation is earthquake-ready, the Chronicle suggested hiring a licensed engineer to inspect your home.

"Every heavy, expensive and potentially harmful object in your home should be anchored down.”

Securing your possessions Every heavy, expensive and potentially harmful object in your home should be anchored down. Portland, Oregon, NBC-affiliate KGW emphasized the need to secure shelves, bookcases, entertainment centers, china, trophies, televisions and pretty much anything else you think could cause damage during an earthquake. The Chronicle also suggested avoiding hanging anything directly over your bed.

FEMA said you can use nylon straps, closed hooks or flexible fasteners to secure your possessions.

Securing your gas meter

To prevent a gas leak in your home, it might be wise to invest in a shut off valve that automatically turns off in the event of an earthquake. According to Redfin, damaged pipelines from an earthquake could cause a gas leak in your home, and an automatic shutoff valve could help protect you.

Securing your water heater

The Chronicle urged homeowners to purchase a water heater bracing kit from the hardware store and hire a plumber to install it. Redfin explained that a fallen water heater is a huge danger to a home because it could result in the gas or electric lines becoming disconnected.

There are many other important steps to take to make sure your home is secure during an earthquake. You should consult an expert in your area as well as to stay informed about any changes to local codes. The Chronicle explained there is still a lot to learn about earthquakes, and as a result engineers are constantly creating new safety standards.

Securing your finances with earthquake insurance

Earthquake damage is not covered by standard home insurance, so you may want to consider obtaining additional coverage.

Don't think that just because you do not live in a place known for earthquakes that you will not experience one. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are 42 states in the U.S. at risk of a damaging earthquake, and every single state is at risk of some sort of shake or tremor.

Zillow urged homeowners to think about the potential consequences of not obtaining earthquake coverage before making that decision. It may be expensive depending on where you live, but in the event your home is severely damaged in an earthquake, you'll be thankful you're covered.