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The homeowners guide to earthquakes

What you should know to prepare, protect, and recover.

Earthquake damage to a road

California may be known for earthquakes, but if you live anywhere west\_(or just east)\_of the Rockies, you're\_in an earthquake zone. If you live along the Mississippi River in the New Madrid region, that's an earthquake zone too. Earthquakes can\_(and do)\_occur everywhere from Alaska to the Appalachians and New England.\_

Before: Be prepared

You can increase the likelihood of avoiding damage by making these adjustments inside your home. Consider working with a professional to help choose and install safety features.

  • Anchor bookcases and large appliances to walls.
  • Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling.
  • Install ledge barriers on shelves and place heavy items on lower shelves.
  • Secure large, heavy items and breakables directly to shelves.
  • Use closed hooks and wire to securely attach pictures and mirrors to walls.
  • Secure ceiling lights, suspended ceilings, and other hanging items such as chandeliers and plants.
  • Apply safety film to windows and glass doors.
  • Lock the rollers of any large appliances or furniture.
  • Secure water heater(s) to walls.
  • Fit all gas appliances with flexible connections and/or a breakaway gas shutoff device or install a main gas shutoff device.

After: Take precaution and evaluate

Once you've ensured everyone is ok, do the following.

  • Look for any gas leaks, water leaks, and electrical shorts.
  • Turn off any damaged utilities. Do not try to turn them back on yourself, have the utility company assist you.
  • Check TV, online, or radio for any evacuation orders.
  • Be prepared for a possible aftershock.

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