Earthquakes and Home Inspections

Earthquakes and home inspections. On March 18th 2020 there was a moderate sized earthquake centered just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, that measured at magnitude 5.7 on the Richter scale. That is strong enough to jolt you out of sleeping, knock things off of the walls, and definitely frighten you. Im going to take this opportunity to remind people what to do during an earthquake, directly after an earthquake, and what preventive measures to take to help keep your home safe during and after an earthquake

During an earthquake while your at home

Note: I am note an expert on seismology, so, I have taken this information from this government website: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

If an earthquake happens while you are in bed, you should roll onto your belly and cover your neck and head with a pillowIf you’re not in bed, drop, cover and hold on. Crawl under a table and cover your neck and head with your arms and hands. Do not run outside or stand in a doorway

After an earthquake

The first thing you should do is check on everyone in the house. Make sure they are safe and only call for emergency responders for life threatening situations, as they will be extremely busy. Do an inspection on your gas line and if you find a leak or smell gas, shut off the valve at your meter. Next, you should check your water lines. If you find a leak, shut off the main water supply (usually found on the front basement wall) and open a few faucets to drain the systemCheck your exhaust vents on your water heater and furnace and make sure they are still venting to the exterior. If you go outside, you should be aware of any downed power lines that may be exposed, since they are an electrical hazard. Look for any signs of cracking in your foundation walls and brickwork.

In the event of a gas leak, shut off the gas service by turning the valve 90 degrees.

Before an earthquake 

Plan

It’s important to have a family emergency plan in place to make sure everyone knows what to do during an emergency. It’s also a good idea to run occasional drills to ensure each member of the family is aware of their responsibilities. Some families will put together a emergency binder that has emergency contact information, personal details and emergency plans. For ideas on how to make your own emergency binder, check out this free checklist!

72 Hour Kit

A 72 hour kit is a kit that is put together and stored in an easily accessible place in case an emergency displaces your family. Some frequent items in a 72 hour kid include a flashlight, toiletries, medicine, water, food and much more. For a full list of items to put in your 72 hour kit, click here.

You can also purchase the kits already put together.

Straps

Make sure your water heater has earthquake straps. An earthquake strap is a strap that secures your water heater so it doesn’t fall over (typically to the wall).

Inspector

Hire a home inspector to inspect your home. They will ensure you have earthquake straps that are up to code, they’ll check the structure of the home and check the foundation.

Chris Lynch is the owner and operator of Reliable Home Inspections, based in Salt Lake County and services Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, Tooele and Summit Counties.