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earthquake retrofitting

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Interior Retrofitting

You don’t have to lose your home and possessions to nature’s shake, rattle and roll. It’s never too early to prepare and you can take several basic steps right now to protect your family and your home from disaster. Here are some interior nonstructural retrofitting that can help secure household items. Weinstein Retrofitting Systems offers Interior Retrofitting to ensure your safety in case of an earthquake.

1. Bracing Bookcases and shelves

In an earthquake, items such as bookcases can topple over and cause injury or damage to other items in the room.  To secure wooden bookcases to a wall:

2. Bracing Kitchen Appliances

Earthquakes can wreak widespread damage in your home, especially in the kitchen where so many breakable items are stored. With dishes, glasses, and small and large appliances, the kitchen is an area that can really be turned upside down during an earthquake. It is also a place where you may need to continue preparing food even without electricity. When preparing your home for an earthquake, pay special attention to the kitchen and its contents.

3. Secure Large Appliances

Refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, washers and dryers should all be secured. Mount appliances to both walls and floors so that they do not tip, roll or slide. This is accomplished using earthquake appliance straps that connect the appliance to the wall or floor. The straps should never be mounted to a bare wall because it is not strong enough to hold an appliance steady with large shakes. Mount to a wall stud instead. The stud will provide needed support and strength to keep an appliance stationary.

4. Bracing Gas Appliances

Gas appliances can create severe problems if they are not secured during an earthquake. If the appliance were to fall over or break away from the gas connector, a fire could ignite or the gas could create an explosion.
Gas appliances not only need to be secured but should also have a flexible gas line that is longer than necessary. This will allow for movement if the appliance is shaken, making it less likely to break.

5. Secure Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Unsecured kitchen cabinets create a serious hazard during an earthquake. If not properly secured, the doors may fly open sending dishes and glass flying and crashing. When a home is shaken by an earthquake, cabinet doors and drawers can open allowing contents to spill out causing damage to the contents and the surrounding area. Breaking glass can tear up flooring, fly into walls or hit somebody. This makes it necessary to keep doors and drawers fastened. There are a variety of low-cost latches that keep doors or drawers from opening.
Child-proof latches are fastened on the inside of doors and drawers and latch automatically and these are also ideal for protective measures against earthquakes. These devices will allow a small opening so that they can be released.

6. Protect Breakables

Even when cabinet doors are fastened the contents within can move, shake or tumble out of place causing breakages. Line cabinets with rubberized shelf mats. The mat will help keep items stationary. It can also help to put matting between fragile materials that are stacked. The mat keeps fragile items from sliding off the stack.

7. Anchor ceilings, lights and hanging fixtures

Light fixtures will be one of the things relied upon in the period after an earthquake. They will be needed to help assess what damage has been caused in the case of a natural disaster. Therefore, it’s important to make sure they are properly anchored in place.
Ceilings, lights and hanging fixtures can topple over in a seismic event.  Attaching Ceilings, lights and hanging fixtures to the ceiling can help prevent damage to them and to other items in the room. Another good idea is to install plastic sleeves over the fluorescent light tubes will keep the glass from scattering if they break.

8. Fasten Furniture that Holds Equipment

Any shelving or fittings that hold entertainment equipment are liable to fall and cause damage to valuable stereos, TVs and computer equipment. Therefore, it is essential to fasten down anything that holds entertainment equipment. This also applies to any furniture that is used for holding equipment.
It is also necessary to anchor any tables holding computer equipment to the floor. The flexible fasteners can be mounted to the floor as easily as they are put into walls. By anchoring a computer table, it will be less likely to fall over with a computer and its accessories.

9. Fasten Entertainment Equipment

Fasten entertainment equipment.  TV’s, stereos, computers and other entertainment equipment are susceptible to damage during an earthquake from falling off of tables and shelves. This creates damage to both the appliance and its surroundings. Fastening entertainment equipment to tables, walls and entertainment centers is a great way to prevent them from falling over.
To secure computers, TVs or any other electronic devices, we use furniture straps. The straps connect the appliance to whatever it is sitting on. The straps bolt onto whichever surfaces the appliance is placed and then secured directly to the appliance. The straps will not dent or scratch any surfaces they are used on. These devices also adjust and are removable in case you want to relocate a piece of equipment.

10. Securing Your Furnace

The heating system of every home will be fundamental in surviving an earthquake if it happens in the winter. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your furnace is fully secured and maintained, in order to prevent a break down at a critical time. If your furnace breaks, there’s no chance of heating in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

11. Secure Wall Paintings

When preparing a home for a natural disaster such as an earthquake, all of the focus can go towards furniture and fittings. Obscure items such as wall paintings are often overlooked, but these must be properly secured to prevent damage and stop them from becoming an unnecessary hazard.

12. Bracing your Garage Door Opening

Garages are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage, and especially if there is living space above the garage. The narrow walls on either side of the garage opening must be able to support the seismic load that is transferred from the roof and additional living space above the garage (if one exists) into the foundation below. In order for these narrow walls to support this load, they must be properly braced. Bracing these walls is usually done by using steel bracing or specially detailed plywood panels as recommended by a registered professional engineer.

13. Brace Water Heaters

The horizontal forces created by an earthquake have a tendency to “push” over water heaters that are not braced to the structure. Once the water heater has been tipped over, the broken water pipe will flood your home and destroy floors, walls, furniture, and all of your family belongings. Your home is at an additional risk to fire damage if your water heater also happens to be powered by natural gas and the natural gas line breaks. Bracing your water heater is a simple and affordable way of eliminating this problem.