Earthquake Preparedness: Protecting your home
Jamaica is located in a highly active seismic zone that experiences an average of 200 earthquakes annually. Local experts believe that Jamaica’s major fault line has the potential to generate a 7.5 to 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
Here are the best ways to protect your home during an earthquake.
• Bolt large furniture to the wall. Large furniture pieces such as bookcases, dressers, wardrobes and file cabinets can fall on people and block exits. When preparing your home for earthquakes, make sure to anchor by bolting the back to the furniture directly to the wall or by using steel brackets.
• Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets and store heavy objects and breakable items on lower shelves.
• Do not place chairs, desks, beds etc. beneath shelves. The items stored on shelves can fall on people and cause injury.
• Protect fragile items such as figurines, displayed on shelves or tables by using industrial strength fasteners to firmly attach them where they rest. You can do the same for TVs and computers.
• Have a professional make sure your home is securely attached to its foundation.
• Ensure that window air conditioning units are fastened and bolted into their spaces.
• Do not place beds near glass windows or under hanging light fixtures. Locate beds near interior walls. If the bed must be by a glass window, install shatter-resistant plastic film over the glass to hold glass in place and prevent it from flying around the room.
• Have flexible fittings installed to avoid gas or water leaks. These should not break during an earthquake.
• Anchor gas cylinders to the wall with chains. Also, secure your water heater and refrigerator with wall brackets.
• Don’t hang heavy items, such as pictures frames and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.