With the devastation caused by Canterbury earthquakes still so raw in the memory of many, the recent Cook Strait and Eketahuna quakes should reinforce the need for all New Zealanders to make sure their home is ‘quake safe’.
There are also some easy steps you can take to protect your ornaments, pictures/mirrors and appliances and prevent them from becoming projectiles in a quake.
- Place plastic putty (Blu Tack) and non-slip mats under ornaments and glassware.
- Push hooks closed after hanging pictures/mirrors or squeeze filler material into the gap so the cord cannot jump out.
- Place non-slip mats under small appliances. Larger appliances such as televisions can be secured using strap restraints available from specialist safety or hardware stores.
Top quake safe tips
- Fasten wall units, bookcases and other tall furniture to wall studs using metal brackets which are available from most hardware stores.
- Store heavy objects on lower shelves or in low cabinets with latches.
- Secure water cylinders with timber blocks fastened to the floor and attach a strap around the top of the cylinder. The straps can be bought as part of a special kit from plumbing supply or hardware stores.
- Replace your chimney with a lighter metal flue.
- Strap down header tanks on the roof or in the roof space. Sunlight can perish the straps so they need to be checked and replaced regularly.
- Check your house is well-fixed to its foundations. Wire, bolt or bracket bearers to piles. Nail strong plywood sheets to the inside of the framing in the sub-floor space. Nail strong plywood sheets to brace and clad the outside piles. Check that any extensions to your home are well tied to the original house foundations. If you are unsure about how to do this, a builder can help.
These are just some of the helpful tips included in EQC’s free guide to making your home quake safe called: Easy Ways to Quake Safe your Home which is available online at www.eqc.govt.nz/be-prepared/earthquake, or you can phone EQC on 0800 326 243 and request a copy be sent to you. The booklet is available in eight languages.