If you are living in an earthquake prone area, it is important to take advanced measures to keep your home safe from any seismic occurrence. Here are some methods you can adopt to save your home from earthquakes.
Building owners can hire a licensed engineer to do a thorough inspection of the structure and identify weaknesses, if any. This way, you will be able to start with strengthening and repair works well before an earthquake hits you.
Check for external hazards like tree branches, electrical lines, and balconies that look cantilevered and irregular. Adequate measures should be taken to rectify these; else, they can cause great damage during an earthquake.
Check for Moisture
Soil with high clay content will undergo expansion and contraction under varying moisture conditions. Due to this, there will be movement in the foundation resulting in cracks. Therefore, you have to clean your roof gutters and make sure that rainwater moves to drains and do not filter down around your house.
Check the Walls
Walls made of bricks, hollow clay tiles, and cinder blocks can collapse easily as compared to reinforced walls. Mortar may keep the bricks apart rather than keeping them together. A good solution to it will be to tie the masonry wall to a steel frame.
Also, make sure that the walls of your house are properly anchored to the foundation slabs. Without proper anchors, your house may slide off the foundation and break utility lines.
Check the Foundation
If you have pier or post foundation, get an engineer to brace them together. Unreinforced foundations like brick may not take much vibration. Hence, it will be safer to replace them with reinforced foundation. Cripple walls should be braced inside with plywood to avoid swaying.
Provide secure bracing for your water heater, which should be secured to wall studs. You can get the help of a plumber to do it. Secure all the mirrors and pictures to the wall as well. Attach computers, televisions, and other expensive electronic devices safely to a solid surface.
Know the location of electrical, gas lines, and water shut-off valves. If possible install an earthquake activated shut-off valve on the main gas line. Earthquake can cause pipe to rupture which causes gas leaks and fire. Flexible gas and water pipe fittings can avoid breakage during earthquake.
Learn how to shut off water, gas, and electric utilities when a seismic activity happens. Consult with our experts for any assistance. Be safe.
Posted on Thursday, January 18th, 2018.