Chapter 3: Fundamental Home Preparation
Emergency preparation starts at home - as in, the foundation and walls under and around you. Prepare your home for safety with Redfora’s expert tips, so you can rest easier knowing your home is as safe as it can possibly be.
From the everyday to the extraordinary, consider the tools below to stay ready for emergencies.
Fire extinguishers are a safety staple. They’re the most efficient and effective tool to manage everything from a minor cooking disaster or a major natural disaster.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Most of us have smoke detectors in our homes, but carbon monoxide detectors are less common. Yet, they are equally important, especially for homes using natural gas. If an earthquake or other emergency disrupts your gas lines while you’re sleeping, a carbon monoxide detector will alert you.
Backup Power and Light Options
It’s likely you’ll lose power during a disaster, so we recommend having an array of backup options. The key components are simple: a solar panel to collect energy when the grid is down, and a large capacity battery pack or full power station to store the energy. You’ll use this to power lights and devices.
Gas Shutoff Tool
If an emergency disrupts or detaches your gas lines, you’ll need want this tool to shut off the gas supply. Keep it securely attached to your gas valve using string or velcro for easy access.
Furniture Wall Straps or Anchors
Wall straps are used to secure heavy furniture and televisions to the wall so they don’t tip during an earthquake.
- Wall straps are used for large electronics, like televisions, because they don’t require drilling into the product.
- Anchors are attached securely to furniture using screws, making them perfect for things like bookshelves and dressers.
Key items to consider securing include water heaters, furniture, air conditioners, large appliances, and televisions.
Earthquake Hold Putty
This putty is useful for securing heavy or breakable objects that might otherwise fall off a shelf during a strong quake. It is easily moved and reusable, making it perfect for renters.
Common Home Hazards
Redfora recommends regularly inspecting your home, checking and correcting any potential concerns.
Foundations, masonry, and roofs
Check your foundation and masonry for any obvious cracks. Roofs should be inspected for water damage, weak spots, or loose tiles. Make notes and hire a contractor to review anything suspicious.
Keep beds away from large windows that could shatter. Sometimes this isn’t possible, so we recommend using a window film, which is a clear, adhesive piece of plastic that contains any glass fragments if the window breaks.
Gas & Water Connections
Use flexible connectors on all gas and water appliances. When an earthquake or other disaster occurs, it might shift around some crucial elements in your home, potentially breaking gas and water connections that will lead to more problems. Flexible connectors can withstand the earth’s movements and are much less likely to break or detach, keeping your home safe until you can disconnect the lines.
Keep heavy objects safely secured to the wall or on low shelves. Avoid hanging anything heavy, such as shelving or mirrors, above beds and cribs.
Store hazardous or toxic materials on floor level, well away from your water and food supply to avoid possible contamination.