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Guest Column

In the aftermath of the earthquake

earthquake preparedness by Washington State Emergency Management
The following is an Earthquake Preparedness Home Checklist, for those who want to be ready in case of another quake in our area.
  1. Place beds so that they are not: next to large windows, right below hanging lights, right below heavy mirrors, right below framed pictures, or right below shelves with lots of things that can fall.
  2. Replace heavy lamps on bed tables with light, non-breakable lamps.
  3. Change hanging plants from heavy pots into lighter pots.
  4. Use closed hooks on hanging plants, lamps, etc.
  5. Make sure hooks (hanging plants, lamps, etc.) are attached to studs.
  6. Remove all heavy objects from high shelves.
  7. Remove all breakable things from high shelves.
  8. Replace latches, such as magnetic touch latches on cabinets, with latches that will hold during an earthquake.
  9. Take glass bottles out of medicine cabinets and put on lower shelves. (Parent note: If there are small children around, make sure you use childproof latches when you move things to lower shelves.)
  10. Remove glass containers that are around the bathtub.
  11. Move materials that can easily catch fire so they are not close to heat sources.
  12. Attach the water heater to the studs of the nearest wall.
  13. Move heavy objects away from exit routes in your house.
  14. Block wheeled objects so they cannot roll.
  15. Attach tall heavy furniture such as bookshelves to studs in walls.
  16. Use flexible connectors where lines connect to appliances such as stoves, water heaters, and dryers.
  17. Attach heavy appliances such as refrigerators to studs in walls.
  18. Nail plywood to ceiling joists to protect people from chimney bricks that could fall through the ceiling.
  19. Fasten heavy mirrors to walls.
  20. Fasten heavy pictures to walls.
  21. Brace air conditioners.
  22. Check roof tiles-make sure they are secure.
  23. Remove dead or diseased tree limbs that could fall on the house.
Drop, cover and hold
   When you feel an earthquake, drop under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster or ceiling tiles. Stay under cover until the shaking stops. Hold onto the desk or table. If it moves, move with it. Here are some additional tips for specific locations:   After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover when these occur.