Did you know that houses can incur serious damage from even minor earthquakes? This is because houses are often built with less rigorous earthquake preparedness building codes in locations that do not see a great deal of seismic activity. It’s a good idea, then, to assess any potential weak spots in the home and reinforce them so that you prevent possible damage from even a minor temblor. Here is just a sample of the homes ‘at risk’ areas:
The home’s foundations. You will want to check that the home is securely fixed to its foundations. Make sure that there is no crumbling or cracking in cement foundations.
The chimney. This can become very unstable if it has been damaged by an earthquake and runs the risk of falling into the house. Make sure there are no children’s playrooms located near the chimney. You may want to secure an unreinforced masonry chimney to the house using sheet metal straps and angle bracing.
Freestanding water heaters should be secured to a wall that you can do with metal straps.
Leaking gas is a common and serious issue after an earthquake. It’s a good idea to have any home appliances that run on natural gas fixed firmly to the floor or wall. If your home does not have an automatic gas shutoff valve, then it’s extremely important that the manual shutoff valve is clearly labeled and in an area that is easily accessible if the need arises for it to be turned off in a hurry.
As we mentioned earlier, this is just a sampling of the many potentially at-risk areas in a home in the event of a small earthquake. Reinforcing these areas will give you the peace of mind that your home is a safe place to live.