Earthquake-Proof Your Vacation Residence
By Steve Ezer
Whenever an earthquake gets into the four to five range on the Richter Scale, and we've had our fair share here in Palm Desert, California, we see damage to houses and the property inside those homes. We see cracked drywall, cracked tiles, soffits that come apart, objects that fall out of cabinets, and furniture that topples over. That's why I recommend these precautionary tips that can be taken to prepare your vacation residence:
- Safety latches - Safety latches can be installed on all cabinet doors, particularly in the kitchen, to keep dishes, glasses, barware, etc. from falling out and breaking.
- Bathroom - Remove glass bottles/containers from medicine cabinet(s) and shelves to a lower level in the bathroom.
- Museum Putty - Placing earthquake hold material on the underside of all items on shelves will help prevent pottery, decorative glass, vases, statues and figurines from sliding to the ground and breaking.
- Repositioning Breakables - If you are absent from your home for long periods of time lower hanging mirrors to the floor, temporarily remove artwork from the walls, remove sconces from chandeliers, place lamps, vases or decorative pieces that rest on a pedestal on the ground and cover any objects with plastic.
- Secure to Walls - Either secure to your walls or lay down any free standing furniture with narrow bases (e.g. grandfather clocks), etageres, large urns or vases, floor lamps and large plants.
- Water Heaters - Inspect water heaters to insure earthquake straps are in place and that they are adjusted and secured properly.
- Shutoff Valves - Consider installing an automatic shutoff valve on your gas line and attach a wrench to open the valve if it is shut off.
- Valuables Inventory - Create a digital image inventory record of household contents or any items that you determine that are of value for insurance purposes.
- Flammable Liquids - Remove all flammable liquids such as painting and cleaning products to your garage or outside storage area. Clean or dispose of rags that are used with the previously mentioned products.
- Earthquake Insurance - Consider purchasing earthquake insurance. It can be expensive, but can be well worth it.
- Arrange for Inspections - Premier Residential Services inspects each client's property for damage, including cracked pipes or shifted water heaters, after earthquakes. Find a property management service that will do the same, or have a trusted neighbor look in.
- Other Suggestions - Keep an ample supply of bottled water, a portable radio & batteries, a supply of cash, matches, a first aid kit and canned food to insure that in the event that something does occur, the first several days after the event you will be able to deal with being without the support of outside help.