News & Announcements

August 19, 2020

How to Prepare Your Home For An Earthquake

Earthquakes are rare in Virginia, but they can have devastating results. Here are some simple steps you can take to help protect your home should a tremblor hit your community.

Cracked brick wall of home damaged in an earthquake

Inside Your House

  • Fit gas appliances with flexible connections and/or a breakaway gas shut-off device, or install a main gas shut-off device (also called a seismic natural gas shut-off valve).
  • Secure water heater(s) to walls.
  • Anchor bookcases and filing cabinets to walls.
  • Install baby latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling out.
  • Use closed screw-eyes and wire to attach mirrors and pictures to the wall.
    securely attach pictures and mirrors
  • Install ledge barriers on shelves, place heavy items on lower shelves, and secure breakables directly to shelves.
  • Attach TVs, computers, and small appliances to desks, tables, or countertops.
  • Secure ceiling lights, suspended ceilings, and other hanging items such as chandeliers, and plants to the permanent structure of your house (studs and beams).
  • Apply safety film to windows and glass doors.
  • Anchor large appliances to walls using safety cables or straps. Lock the rollers of any large appliances or pieces of furniture.
  • Install a water damage prevention device like Flo by Moen.

Your House Itself

  • Add anchor bolts or steel plates between your home and its foundation.
  • Brace the inside of your home’s cripple wall — the short wood-stud wall between the top of the foundation wall and the first floor — with sheathing.
  • Brace unreinforced chimneys, masonry, concrete walls, and foundations.