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Prepare your home

During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. However, there are simple steps you can take to make your home safer. Start by viewing each room with a “disaster eye” and identify potential hazards – bookshelves that could tip over in an earthquake and block exits or heavy objects that could fall and cause injury.

  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change batteries every six months. 
  • Move beds away from windows. 
  • Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places where people sit. 
  • Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation. 
  • Store heavy items on the lowest shelves. 
  • Keep fire extinguishers on each level and know how and when to use them. 
  • Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with a flexible gas supply line. 
  • Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinners) securely and separate from each other. 
  • Secure pictures and wall hangings and use restraints to secure heavy items such as bookcases and file cabinets. 
  • Know how and when to switch off your utilities. 
  • Ensure that all window safety bars have emergency releases. 
  • Be sure your home number is visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you.