Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prepare now to prevent earthquake loss - Statesman Journal July 1

Simple steps can minimize damage to property, family

"We cannot prevent earthquakes, but we can learn to live with them and to survive them. When the inevitable earthquake strikes, we can be ready. But today, we are not." — Robert S. Yeats, Professor Emeritus Oregon State University and author of Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest does have earthquakes as evidenced in 2001 by the Nisqually quake near Olympia, Wash. This caused toppled chimneys, collapsed buildings and bridges, disrupted gas, electric, and phone service, injured 407 people, and resulted in one death due to a heart attack.

Once an earthquake hits it is too late to protect your family and home. But there are ways to prepare now. Sometimes a little time and a few dollars are all you need to make things safer.
Homeowners, have your home evaluated by a structural design engineer to find out how to strengthen porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports, and garage doors.

Check to see if your house is bolted to its foundations and the chimney is properly secured. Anchor fuel tanks and wood-burning stoves securely to the floor and repair defective electrical wiring.

Consider purchasing an emergency generator and use it only in well ventilated areas.
Inside, hang pictures and mirrors away from beds and seating areas. Secure the TV, computer and stereo and strap the water heater to wall studs. Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs and brace or anchor top-heavy objects. Secure kitchen equipment to the floor, wall or countertop.

These are only a few of the things you can do to help reduce the probability of serious injury and major expense from an earthquake.

Be prepared — for your family's sake.

For more information about earthquakes, go to
Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or Additional Facts

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Send questions about emergency preparedness to be answered in this column to Other information may be found at www.oregon. gov/omd/oem or