Earthquake-Proof Your Home With These Safety Tips

Date Nov 23, 2020
Blog category Insurance
By Staff Writer

New Zealand is an earthquake-prone country due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Just yesterday, 22 November at 7:00 am, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck near Oban. The epicentre was measured 198 kilometres southwest of the town, but it may still change as more accurate results come out. 

While there have been no significant damages to infrastructure and livelihood to the people of Oban, it’s important to prepare for the worst! Whether you’re in a big city like Auckland or a remote community like the Chatham Islands, make sure your home is earthquake-proof!

Here’s some useful and effective earthquake-proofing safety tips.

Preparing for earthquakes

Even with advancements in technology, no one knows when an earthquake may occur. That’s why it’s important to be prepared whenever it may be. Here are some effective ways to prepare for earthquakes.

Familiarise yourself with disaster plans

Every community, city, or region has a disaster preparedness plan. Make sure to familiarise yourself with it. It also helps if you and your family have specific escape routes, evacuation plans, and emergency meeting places.

Teach kids about the power controls of your home

If you’re at work and your kids are at home during an earthquake, make sure they know how to shut off the main electrical and water controls. This is important because keeping this on after the quake may lead to fire or flooding.

Prepare an emergency kit

It’s crucial to have an emergency kit for each member of the household. This should include essentials like water, non-perishable food, torch, extra clothes, among others. You should inform each member its placement so they can easily grab it in case of an emergency.

Securing the inside of your home

Great, you now know basic preparedness tips for an earthquake. The next thing you should do is to earthquake-proof the inside of your home. This is to ensure you can easily go out once the shaking stops. Plus, if ever you’re stuck inside, you can survive until rescue arrives.

Don’t block points of exits

Be it a large window or a door, rid it of any unnecessary fixtures and appliances. It’s where you’ll likely come out when the shaking stops, so make sure you can pass through it easily. Avoid placing frames, shelves, and other potentially hazardous materials near exits.

Place breakable cutleries in the lower cabinets

As much as possible, place dishes, glassware, and other breakable cutleries in the lower cabinets. If you place it in the overhead cupboards, secure it with a sturdy cabinet door. Same thing applies for heavy and sharp objects like mortar and pestle, and your knives set.

Secure lighting fixtures and other appliances

If you can latch all your appliances on the wall, do it. This reduces the shaking during earthquakes, which prevents the possibility of short circuits. For fixtures like ceiling lights, chandeliers, and ceiling fans, attach them firmly to prevent them from falling on you.

Place decorations in empty spaces

Are you a fan of artworks, mirrors, and decorations in your home? Great — just make sure it’s not placed directly above your head! Don’t place it over your bed or couch as it may lead to serious injuries when it falls.

Strengthen the structure of your home

To further secure your home from earthquakes, protect it from the core. Keeping the structure of your home sturdy is one of the best ways to earthquake-proof your home. Here are easy ways to secure the structure of your home:

Check for cracks on walls

The easiest way to spot possible structural problems is through checking for cracks. Some water may be leaking in the concrete or on the ground, which can eventually corrode the foundations of your home. If you spot any — no matter how tiny that is — consult an expert immediately.

Inspect your roof

Aside from walls, you may also check the roof. It protects from any kind of weather — like the heat of the sun, rainfalls, and even snow! This makes it one of the most used parts of your home. Due to the severe wear and tear, it can easily collapse once an earthquake strikes.

Get house and contents insurance

Even if you did all the earthquake-proofing measures, your house may still sustain damages — be it in the infrastructure or on your personal belongings. Getting house and contents insurance can give you peace of mind, knowing that there’s something to help you financially.

Secure your home and contents with a comprehensive insurance policy that fits your needs. Compare the best house and contents insurance from NZ’s leading providers using our comparison tool at CompareBear.