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Advice to Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake

The following information and resources are intended to help you reduce risk to your family and home in the event of an earthquake.

Install a seismic shut-off valve.
A major cause of loss resulting from an earthquake is fire due to broken gas lines. A seismic shut-off valve may help to spare your home from significant damage. These valves are designed to automatically stop the flow of gas to your home when the device’s sensor detects a 5.4 magnitude or larger earthquake. The valve is then manually reset once a safety inspection has been performed to ensure no gas leak is present.

There are a number of manufacturers who offer seismic shut-off valves, most notably Little Firefighter and California Seismic Valve. Typical installation costs range from $600-$1,200 but depend on the size of the valve, labor fees and whether or not a permit is needed (it may be required in select areas). A PURE Member Advocate® can help determine the device that’s right for your home and assist in scheduling the installation with a preferred service provider in your area.

Install flexible gas and water lines.
Prevent broken gas and water lines by installing flexible connection pipes between appliances and their supply lines.

Secure movable and valuable items.
Move furniture such as bookcases and shelves away from beds, sofas or other areas where people sit or sleep. Move heavy objects to lower shelves. Make sure items such as televisions, bookcases, refrigerators, shelving units, water heaters and other large appliances, are properly secured, mounted or strapped. Secure your artwork and make sure it has been installed to withstand seismic activity and that the shelving used to store your wine collection is designed to absorb the impact of an earthquake.

Keep and maintain a disaster kit.
Create and maintain an emergency preparedness kit to ensure you are equipped with the proper supplies at home or in the event you must evacuate. It should include enough food and water for at least three days, non-perishable food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, medications or other vital medical supplies, pet supplies, and other necessary items outlined here.

Create a plan.
Establish an emergency plan so that your family knows what to do and how to reach each other when an earthquake occurs. It should include information such as evacuation and reunion plans, emergency contact names and numbers, the location of your emergency preparedness kit and other pertinent information. Consider members of your household who may need special accommodations, like seniors, those with disabilities, children and pets.

Know the location of utility shutoffs and keep needed tools nearby.
Know how to turn off the gas, water and electricity to your home. If you do not have a seismic shut off valve, it may be necessary to turn the gas off manually; however, this should only be done if you smell or hear leaking gas. A professional will be required to turn the gas back on.

For more information or for assistance locating a service provider in your area, contact a PURE Member Advocate at [email protected] or 888.813.7873.