Last Update: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Securing Your Home PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 11:29

Since the City of Los Angeles is in Seismic Zone 4, perforated iron strap (plumber’s tape) will not be an acceptable method for strapping or bracing water heaters over 40 gallons.

Water heaters over 40 gallons shall have Office of the State Architect approved straps, and shall be installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The State of California requires that all water heaters be strapped to resist motion during an earthquake.

This may be accomplished by installing an over-the-counter “water heater restraint” kit which has been designed specifically for this purpose, and which has been accepted by the California Division of the State Architect (DSA).

Such kits are available from plumbing hardware supplier.

An Alternative method is shown below in Example 2, using heavy-duty metal strap material and hardware.

As per 1996 LAPC, Section 94.510.5, water heaters must be strapped in at least two locations, one being in the upper one-third of the unit, and the other in the lower onethird. The lower strap must be a minimum of 4" above the water heater control unit.

Securing Heavy Furnishings

Window And Mirror Glass Sharp shards may fall or be thrown across a room.

Consider safety glass, wire glass or solar/ safety film.

The solar/safety film has the advantage of improving the insulating factor of the window.

The energy saving may pay for the cost of the film. There are cost-free protective measures that you can use if the glass where you are is not safety type.

You can pull down and close shutters or draw drapes.

Even blinds that are pulled down, but not closed, offer some additional protection from flying glass.

Heavy Furniture Furniture will move and fall during many types of disasters, especially tall, top-heavy items.

Secure the furniture to the wall. Use braided metal cable, chain, or angle brackets to secure all furniture to a wall anchor.

Most often a wall anchor is an appropriately sized eyescrew.

Be sure you screw wall anchors into a stud (A stud is the vertical 2 x 4 inch wood post that supports your wall).

They are normally spaced at 16 inch intervals.

Use of an inexpensive electronic stud finder makes the job much easier with less damage to your walls.

Screws should always be used, never nails. Nails will pull out during a large earthquake.

Gas Appliances Your stove, water heater, furnace, clothes dryer, etc. may run on natural gas or propane.

Unsecured gas appliances may crush someone or rupture their gas feed line during a quake.

If these objects move or topple, the resulting gas leak may destroy your home, a home which would otherwise have survived with only minor damage.

Secure all gas appliances to a wall stud and use flexible gas lines. The flexible gas line should be longer than necessary to allow for some movement.

The appliance should be secured top and bottom to prevent tipping, rolling and sliding.

Use heavy plumber's tape or braided cable to secure your water heater to the studs in the wall. See “Securing Your Water Heater” Refrigerators

Refrigerators are extremely heavy and most of them are on wheels.

Because of their weight they may crush someone if they move and tip.

Secure refrigerators, top and bottom, to insure they remain in place and upright during any earth movement.

Use commercially available adhesive straps.

Fasten one end into a wall stud and adhere the strap securely to a structural component of the refrigerator.

Do not secure anything to the coils in the rear of the box. These are made of lightweight material and will not support the weight of the unit.

Follow manufacturer's directions.

Hanging Pictures, Mirrors, Clocks, Etc.

Anything simply hanging on a wall will come flyingoff in a large shake.

Use an appropriately sized eyebolt and a hollow wall anchor for lighter items.Larger items will require an eyescrew that is screwed into a wall stud.

Decorative Items And Bric- Abrac On Shelves, Bookcases, Etc.

Unsecured objects will fall during a shock. Run a wire, monofilament fishing line, or guardrail across the shelf front.

(The line/rail should be placed 1/3 the height of the shelf, from the bottom.) Objects can be secured in place with Velcro, 2-sided tape, porcelain glue. Place large or heavy objects on the bottom shelf.

Heavy items can be secured with industrial strength Velcro.

Cupboard Items

Cupboards will open and spill their contents during a quake. Put heavy items on bottom shelves and use positive latches to prevent doors from opening.

Flammable Liquids

Spilled flammable liquids may cause fire and destroy a home that would have survived undamaged.

Store all flammable liquids outside, in their original/ proper containers, away from structures and vehicles.

If you must store flammable liquids in your home, store them in the garage, keep them in a cabinet with locking doors, and always store them on the lowest shelf. See “Hazardous Materials” section.

Beds Located Near Windows

Plate glass may break during a disaster. Relocate beds away from windows and tall heavy furniture. Apply safety film to all windows where people live or work.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:48