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Protect your Home from the Risk of Earthquake Damage

Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation | July 17th, 2013

The latest string of earthquakes along the BC’s coast, the most recent occurring last week off the Alaskan coast that triggered a tsunami warning from northern Vancouver Island to Cape Suckling Alaska, serves as a good reminder of the importance of earthquake preparedness.   As most people know, in Vancouver we sit in a major earthquake zone.


Researchers still predict the potential for a 9.0 magnitude Cascadia earthquake. An earthquake of this size would cause extensive damage particularly for the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. While it is impossible to prevent “the big one” from occurring, it is important to take the necessary precautions for you and your family. 


Reducing earthquake damage to your home is a critical component in emergency preparedness. Individuals can be severely injured by structural damage and falling debris.  In order to withstand lateral and vertical seismic forces, it is imperative to reinforce the foundation, floors, chimney, walls and roof of your home as well as secure contents. Secure your water heater and other appliances that could damage water and/or gas lines. Homes that absorb and evenly distribute horizontal shifting typically fare best in the event of an earthquake.


It is also important to learn how to properly turn off gas, electricity, and water in the event that your home’s power lines are damaged. Secure all flammable and hazardous liquids and materials including paint, insecticide and cleaning products, and store them in low-lying shelves or cabinets. 


 Also maintain an emergency first aid kit for you and your family. This should include food, water, medicine and clothing for up to 72 hours. Know the safe areas of your home such as inside hallways, corners of rooms and under heavy tables or desks.


It is also important to insure your home with earthquake insurance. In the past, insurance companies have restricted the purchase of such insurance immediately following a sizable quake in the surrounding geographical area.


If you are considering purchasing a home in Vancouver speak to a Vancouver REALTOR® such as myself. I would be happy to provide further information on protecting you and your home from the risk of earthquake damage.