In most earthquakes, injuries and fatalities occur because the shaking ground dislodges loose objects in and on buildings.

Conduct an earthquake hazard hunt of your environment and eliminate objects that have the potential to cause injuries. Foresight and common sense are all that is needed as you go from room to room and imagine what would happen in an earthquake.

Some common earthquake hazards are:

Earthquake hazards


Bed by window, heavy objects on shelves above bed locate bed near an interior wall and away from windows and hanging light fixtures or any item that may fall on you while in bed. If the bed must be next to a glass window, install shatter-resistant plastic film (like the material used to tint windshields) over the glass to hold shattered glass in place and prevent it from flying around the room. Another alternative is tempered glass, which breaks into tiny rounded pieces, but this is more expensive than the film. Be sure that the bed is not on rollers, and if it is on the bare floor use plastic non-skid coasters to reduce sliding.
Heavy pictures above bed Hang these from fixtures that can adequately bear their weight. Items such as hanging pictures and items on shelves will weigh twice as much when they fall. For example, if it weighs 2 lbs. on the wall, it weighs 4 lbs. when it hits, so do not place over beds, desks or chairs.
Unsecured TVs, computers on carts with wheels Attach TVs and computers to their stands with industrial Velcro or bolt the items to the stand. Wheels on carts must be able to be locked to ensure that the cart will not roll around wildly.
Gas stoves with ridged feed lines Use flexible gas lines that will not break during an earthquake and release gas. Anchor the gas cylinder to the wall with chains and if you are cooking, turn off the stove before taking cover.
Tall heavy lamps, vases, figurines If you display fragile items on open shelves or tables use industrial Velcro to attach items to stands.
Window air conditioners Make sure they are securely fastened and bolted into their spaces so they do not fall out.
Hanging plants These tend to swing widely during earthquakes. Hang planters on hooks that can be curved over to form a circle so that the wire or cord cannot jump freely. Use lightweight, plastic containers or baskets instead of heavy, ceramic ones that may cause serious injuries if they strike someone in the head.


See more on earthquake hazards here.

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