Living in Earthquake Country – Are You Ready?

Living in Earthquake Country – Are You Ready?

SF Bay Area Realtor Deborah Lopez 299x300 Living in Earthquake Country – Are You Ready?

Deborah Lopez

Having lived through the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake as a homeowner in San Francisco,  I often find it helpful to review with my family not only the steps to take to make sure our homes are safe, but what to do in case there is a quake.

by Deborah Lopez, SF Realtor

Resources for complete and detailed information about how to prepare your home for an earthquake and what to do in an earthquake can be found at various web sites.   The best ones I’ve found are,, and

7 Tips to Help Prepare You and Your Home for Earthquakes

The seven key recommendations below are from and are easy to remember.  If you want more information, you’ll find a detailed fact sheet on each recommendation on the website.

1.  Secure it Now – Eliminate hazards by securing heavy objects such as bookshelves, televisions, computers and especially water heaters.  California law requires the seller of any home to strap and brace the water heaters before they transfer the home to the next buyer – be sure this is done properly.   But if you’ve been in your home a long time, do it now yourself.

2.  Make a Plan – Have evacuation and reunion plans, an out-of-state contact person and a location for your emergency supplies.  Make sure everyone in your household knows what they are.  Make sure you know the plan at your child or children’s schools so you can find them fast!

3.  Make Disaster Kits – for home, car and work.  These should include water, food, flashlights, portable radios, batteries, first aid kits, cash, extra medications, a whistle and fire extinguishers.

4.  Is Your Place Safe? –  Consult a contractor or engineer knowledgeable in seismic safety to make sure you have done all the upgrades you can to strengthen your home in case of a quake.  Some of these are minor and inexpensive, others may require more extensive projects, but do whatever you can.

5.  DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON!  – Doorways are NOT the safest place in a quake – this is old information.  You are safer dropping to the floor, taking cover under a sturdy desk or table and holding on to it firmly.  Be prepared to move with the furniture until the shaking stops.  If outside, drop to the ground; if in your car, pull over and stay in your car.

6.  Check It Out – After the shaking stops, check for injuries, administer first aid, and identify safety hazards such as damaged gas, water, sewage and electrical lines.   Know how to report damage to the proper agencies and have those numbers in your disaster kit.

7.  Communicate and Recover – Listen to the most accessible radio, contact your insurance agent if your home is damaged and check for resources that will be made available from government agencies.   To locate separated family members, register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Web Site  or call 1-866-GET-INFO.  Make sure everyone in your family has that phone number.

We’ve only had small earthquakes since 1989 but being prepared will give you and your family the peace of mind to enjoy your home and know that you are ready if necessary.   If you would like laminated copies of the Red Cross Earthquake Safety Checklist or a printed copy of the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety for your home, please e-mail me and I will send you either or both immediately.  

Be Safe!

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