What to do BEFORE an earthquake
Skip to: Make A Plan
Go through your home, imagining what could happen to each part of it, if shaken by a violent earthquake. Check off the items that you have completed in this list.
- Teach everybody in the family (if they are old enough) how to turn off the water and electricity.
- Clearly label the on-off positions for the water, electricity and gas. If your home is equipped with natural gas: tie or tape the appropriate wrench on or near the pipe, to turn off the gas, if necessary.
- Repair loose roof shingles.
- Tie the water heater to studs along with other heavy appliances (stove, washer, dryer), especially those that could break gas or water lines if they shift or topple.
- Secure top-heavy furniture and shelving units to prevent tipping. Keep heavy items on lower shelves.
- Affix mirrors, paintings and other hanging objects securely, so they won’t fall off hooks.
- Locate beds and chairs away from chimneys and windows. Don’t hang heavy pictures and other items over beds. Closed curtains and blinds will help stop broken window glass from falling on beds.
- Put anti-skid pads under TVs, computers and other small appliances, or secure them with Velcro or other such product.
- Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out.
- Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they are less likely to spill.
- Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation and other structural mitigation techniques.
- If you live in an apartment block or a multi-storey building, work with your building manager or condominium board to decide how best to “quake-safe” your unit. Seek advice from professionals (building engineers, emergency preparedness authorities) if you are unsure about what to do.
- If you live in a mobile home, you can leave the wheels on the mobile home to limit its fall. Or, you can install a structural bracing system to reduce the chance of your unit falling off its supports. Ensure the awning on your home is securely supported and fastened to the unit. For information on the best way to brace your unit, contact your local mobile home dealer or a mobile home owner’s association.
- Don’t shut off the gas unless there is a leak or a fire. If the gas is turned off, it must be turned on again by a qualified tradesperson.
- Discuss earthquake insurance with your insurance broker. Check your coverage – it could affect your financial ability to recover losses after an earthquake.
What to do:
NOTE: The information above and on the linked pages (During an earthquake, After an earthquake) are reproduction copies of official work published by the Government of Canada and are not produced in affiliation with or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.