When it comes to earthquake insurance, many people are unsure whether a policy is necessary or right for their situation.
California is at very high risk of earthquakes so it is important to adequately prepare your family and home for this hazardous event.
Tags: earthquake preparedness, earthquake putty, earthquake safety, home emergencies, hurricane safety, natural disasters, preparing for home emergencies, secure furniture, secure kitchen cabinets, tornadoe safetyAbout Tina GleisnerTina helps women homeowners create homes they love, homes that support how we live today. An earthquake is a very destructive natural disaster; particularly in the Pacific Rim region. After an earthquake, your home may be a mess and you might be left without a water supply and energy.
If your house has a chimney, this can be a source of injury if it topples during an earthquake.
If at all possible, avoid living near fault lines and large mountains in an earthquake-prone region. When looking online for items to help you quake proof your home, a good search term is "earthquake safety products".
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This page provides an overview of earthquake retrofitting, for anyone who is new to its purpose and terminology.
Careful planning, placement and installation of foundation bolts are critical for good bolting strength.
Expansion type foundation bolts, also known as mechanical foundation anchor bolts, are the basic type of bolt used in earthquake retrofitting to anchor the mudsill to the foundation — they cost less to install, but require good concrete strength to work well.
There are several things you can do to prepare for an earthquake before it happens, to minimize the damage and potential for injury in and around your home.
There are a number of specific hazards in your home that you can deal with before an earthquake occurs. Conventional picture hooks will not hold pictures during an earthquake but they are easy to fix - simply push the hook closed, or use a filler material to fill the gap between the hook and its backing.
Be sure to include wrenches for gas lines, a heavy duty hammer, work gloves, and a crowbar.
Existing homes need to be retrofitted because our understanding of the effects of earthquakes as well as construction techniques have improved after the homes were built.
It is important to use the proper type of bolt corresponding to the existing conditions of the home and its foundation. Accordingly, it is important to brace all sides of a house for the best seismic protection.
In this case, a combination of retrofitted improvements may be called for, including mudsill bolting, Simpson mudsill plates holdowns, plywood shear bracing and angle iron struts.


This is a situation in which a living space of the house, a bedroom for example, has been built over a large opening such as a garage door. The terms house bolting, foundation bolting and cripple wall bracing are often used synonymously with earthquake retrofitting.
There may be no existing bolts, or the existing bolts may be either weakened or too far apart to be strong enough for earthquake resistance. The expected type of bolt load or stress is another important consideration for bolt selection.
Load transfer is an engineering term which in everyday language means that the effects of the earthquake movements are transferred from one of the buildings components into the next – ground to foundation, foundation to sill, sill to wall, wall to floor.
They offer a significant increase in connection strength, and for many projects they provide the most economical upgrade available for the existing conditions.
Generally, the need for holdowns is a function of the height-to-width dimensions of a shear wall configuration. If one is in doubt about the need for holdowns, there is no harm in installing them except for the added cost.
The primary purpose of earthquake retrofitting is to keep your home from being displaced from its concrete foundation — making the building safer and less prone to major structural damage during an earthquake. The current ABAG Standard Plan A for earthquake retrofitting specifies that expansion bolts may be used as long as their installation does not cause cracking of the concrete.
Since there is no precise time of day when an earthquake might strike, you may be at work, at school, on a bus, or in a train when one strikes. If there aren't civic groups present in your area focused on earthquake preparedness, work on putting one together. They also perform better when the earthquake force is expected to cause an uplift — a situation where the movement pulls the bolt upward and out of the concrete. The choice of which connecting system is most practical for a given house comes down to a host of variables and ultimately includes a judgment on cost effectiveness.
If the configuration of the home doesn’t lend itself to this solution an engineered steel moment frame can be an option. Installation is done with an extra-long and more deeply set epoxy-anchored bolt, which provides for better resistance to the lifting stresses. For example: There is a vase on the desk, when a rock hits it, the glass would shatter everywhere which may cause injuries. Epoxy-set foundation bolts work better than mechanical anchor bolts in older homes where the concrete may be weaker than in a newer home. Not only will the damage to your home be more severe, but it will be more likely that you cannot get to your home if you are away from it. Earthquake Safety devised the angle iron strut connection in the early 80s with input from several colleagues who were structural engineers.


Although earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters are bound to happen, we can take steps to minimize the amount of damage that they cause.
If you have civil defence safety meeting points, be sure that every member of the family knows the location of the one closest to home, school, and work.
The requirement for clamping washers installed with retrofit anchor bolts has been recently upgraded. Ask your neighbors to lend a hand, other family members, or dial a handyman company that is good at fixing things for a reasonable price.
It is highly likely that you will need to know several ways to get home since roads and bridges will likely be obstructed for long periods of time. This is particularly important if there is additional base framing (blocking) added between the cripple wall studs for the structural plywood anchorage of a shear wall (cripple wall bracing). The use of this large clamping washer is important because it has been observed in recent earthquakes that the older type of round washer commonly found in houses built prior to the mid 1990s, sometimes pulled through the mudsill because they weren’t large enough to provide adequate holding strength. Sometimes there is not adequate vertical clearance under a home to properly anchor the mudsill to the foundation with conventional anchor bolts.
Stiffening or bracing of the cripple wall to keep if from collapsing during seismic movement is a very important part of earthquake retrofitting. There are several methods available for improving the connection of the framing to the foundation when a house doesn’t have cripple walls. The angle iron struts are installed in such a way as to provide both a vertical (lift resisting) and lateral (slide resisting) anchor for the house. Another condition found in many homes, especially those with attached garages, is referred to as a soft story. On the west coast of the US there are earthquakes and fires, while the southeast has hurricanes. California building codes have done a lot to minimize building damage and the focus here is really on the contents of your home which need to be secured to reduce the damage they cause. Leveraging her experience owning 14 houses and running a handyman business, Tina offers a free Savvy Homeowner Report. We provide women homeowners with the resources needed to manage their homes with confidence, plus support to create homes they love.




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