While living in California offers many perks, homeowners should always be concerned about the unpredictability of earthquakes. Since you never know when an earthquake might strike, it’s always important to take preventative steps to protect your home and your family in the case that one arises. Now that engineers have an understanding of how the earth moves during these natural disasters, they have been able to develop techniques that counter seismic activity. These impressive advancements have led to strict building codes throughout the state of California, all of which are designed to ensure your home can withstand the effects of an earthquake. Unfortunately, many homes that were constructed before the 2000s are vulnerable to earthquake damage.
If you’re concerned your home may be at risk the next time an earthquake hits California, it may be time to contact a engineer for advice. At Consulting Engineers Corp., we’re proud to be an industry leader in full-service custom engineering throughout California, Oregon, Mississippi, and Washington. All of our registered engineers have been certified by the Structural Engineering Certification Board (SECB), and we can provide you with a custom seismic retrofit design for your organization or home. If you’re interested in learning more about our past projects, or you’d like to schedule a consultation with one of our engineers, contact us today!
Preparing Your Home For An Earthquake
Unlike tornadoes and hurricanes, there are no real warnings for earthquakes. While earthquakes usually only last an average of 10 to 30 seconds, that amount of time is surprisingly long enough to do substantial damage to your home or business. When an earthquake strikes, it puts your home’s structure to the test. Your home must be able to absorb the earthquake’s energy and provide a stable path to transfer these intense forces back into the ground. Your home is more likely to pass this test when the walls are braced together and securely anchored to the foundation. This is why it’s so important to take action now to protect your home against this highly unpredictable natural disaster.
Protect Your Home With Seismic Retrofitting
In California, the earth is constantly moving as a result of ongoing seismic activity. At literally any moment, your home or commercial structure is one earthquake away from severe damage or even a complete collapse. With the help of seismic retrofitting, a engineer can help to modify your existing structure, so it can withstand the powerful forces of an earthquake. If your home ends up needing reinforcing, you may need to consider some adjustments, such as:
- Adding steel plates or bolts to your home to help anchor the walls to its foundation
- Bolstering the connection between the first and second floor (for two-story structures)
- Reinforcing post-to-beam connections
- Bracing unreinforced chimneys, masonry, and concrete walls and foundations
Ways To Protect The Inside Of Your Home
Protecting your California home from an earthquake isn’t only about adding steel plates and bolts to your structure or securing the roof, foundation, and walls. It’s also important to take the time to protect and secure the items inside of your home as well. Let’s look at a few things you can do to protect the interior of your home during an earthquake:
- With the use of safety cables, secure your water heaters, large appliances, bookcases, and filing cabinets to nearby walls. If you have large pieces of furniture in your home that are on wheels, make sure that the wheels are locked and secure.
- Add safety film to all of your windows and glass doors to prevent injuries from broken or flying glass.
- Add additional safety latches to your home’s cabinets and drawers to reduce the risk of items falling inside.
- Secure or restrain any desktop computers, countertop appliances, or televisions with hook-and-loop materials or adhesive backed brackets.
- If there are ceiling lights, fans, or hanging plants throughout your home, be sure to safely secure them to permanent indoor structures.
While there are many ways to protect your home from an earthquake, it’s always best to work with a retrofitting expert to ensure your building can withstand the seismic movements of these natural disasters. Contact the engineers at Consulting Engineers Crop. to learn more about our earthquake retrofitting services today!