As our neighbors in California recently experienced, it pays to safeguard your investment and protect yourself in a natural disaster. Here are a few tips to help prevent damage and recover faster after an earthquake.
Gas Appliances: If you have gas appliances, look into flexible connections or gas shut-off valves on lines that fuel them. Flexible connections allow movement, while metal or hard plastic connections can easily break.
Water: Install an automatic water shut-off valve. Much like a gas shut-off valve, this will trigger your water line to shut off in the case of an earthquake. Water heaters are expensive to replace, so make sure yours stays put in a natural disaster by securing it to the wall. A simple restraint, under $20 at most hardware stores, straps the water heater to a wall and is an easy DIY project that takes only a few minutes and could to save you thousands.
Foundation: Is your home bolted to the foundation and adequately braced? If not, there is a chance it could slide off the foundation during an earthquake. The cost of this security can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand but can make a huge impact on how well your home fares in an earthquake.
Glass Safety: Stepping through shards of shattered glass can make it difficult for your family to make a safe exit in an earthquake, so tempered or laminated safety glass is a good choice for large windows or sliding doors. Safety film offers a cheaper alternative, but it is difficult to prevent air bubbles from being trapped under the film, so professional installation is advised.
Read more on earthquake preparedness at Ready.gov.