Before the Quake

First tackle general preparedness. Emergency plans, supplies, and information sources will be critical for coping with any emergency. Next, it's time to tackle getting ready for specific types of emergencies. Review insurance coverage. Be sure to check not only the amounts of coverage, but what is covered. Coverage for earthquakes, floods, or sewage backup for example, requires either separate policies or riders on an existing policy. Now is definitely the time to find out.

There are two main areas to consider in making your home or business "earthquake ready":
  • Nonstructural hazards: Nonstructural refers to your home's contents and parts of the home that do not actually hold the structure up, such as light fixtures, ducts, utility pipes, wiring, drop ceilings, decorative interior and exterior finishings, chimneys, cabinets, etc. Some nonstructural hazards can be eliminated simply by rearranging furniture or cabinet storage. Many could be done as a homeowner's do-it-yourself project with minimal expense.
  • Structural integrity: Identifying and eliminating structural hazards (retrofitting) usually involves contracting professionals.