Week 12 – Earthquake Proof your Home to Protect your Family & Pets

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By Jackie Kloosterboer -Earthquake Preparedness Specialist, Speaker & Author – My Earthquake Preparedness Guide

Secure all heavy furniture  to protect family and pets

What a way to kick off the New Year – living in the aftermath of an Earthquake – yes a small earthquake, nonetheless an earthquake.  Thank goodness there was no significant damage or injuries. However had it been a larger earthquake – we could be facing a much different situation.  That is why we need to be prepared to survive an earthquake and think of this earthquake as our wakeup call – after all we do live in an area that can be impacted by earthquakes.

Since the earthquake I have had the opportunity to be a guest on some radio and TV shows to talk about the importance of earthquake preparedness and answer many questions.  My Inbox is overloaded with people requesting Earthquake Preparedness Sessions for thier neighbourhoods, groups and businesses.
I am thrilled to see the interest in Earthquake Preparedness has come back into focus. What about you – What do you need to do to protect your family after an earthquake? 
Continuing on from the Dec 03, 2015 Blog Post “What is the Most Dangerous Room in your House” we talked about our kitchen as likely being the most dangerous room in our house in an earthquake. This week I want to look at furniture and why it is so important to properly anchor or secure your furniture.
I want to share a story a man from Northridge CA told me while attending one of my Earthquake Preparedness Sessions. His name is Dave and he and his family lived in Northridge California – a community impacted by 6.4 Earthquake in 1994. 
Dave took earthquake preparedness very seriously. If an earthquake occurred, he and his family would be safe – their furniture was securely affixed to the walls and they had all the supplies they would need.
Ensure all heavy furniture is properly secured

Dave often travelled on business and on one of these trips his wife Susan decided to surprise him with a floor to ceiling bookcase to display all his books that were packed away in boxes in the garage. Susan and their young son Danny assembled the bookcase and filled it with all his treasured books. This was going to be his birthday surprise when he returned home from his business trip.

Unfortunately for Susan and Danny the surprise was not what they expected, instead it was a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Susan had neglected to affix the bookcase to the wall and during the earthquake the bookcase crashed to the ground spewing books around the room. The bookcase lodged itself into Danny’s bedroom door making it impossible to access his room.  

They were fortunate as they lived in a rancher making it easy to access the bedroom window from the outside.  Susan was able to help Danny crawl out his window.  Imagine if they lived in a house where the bedrooms were on the 2nd or 3rd floor, or what if they lived on the 24th floor of an apartment – how would Danny have gotten out then?  What if there had been a fire – Danny may not have made it to safety – all because a piece of furniture was not properly secured.  You would never forgive yourself!
When we purchase furniture or even the furniture we currently have in our homes – the majority of us don’t think what would happen to the furniture if we had an earthquake.  Would it fall over injuring our families and pets, would it cause unnecessary damage just because we didn’t secure it – until the earthquake happens we just don’t know.  

Like Northridge, we too could be impacted by a massive earthquake causing extensive damage. Simple steps like securing heavy furniture could save the life of a family member and your pets.

Your Task for Week #10

  1. Take a walk through your home and identify what furniture needs to be secured.
  2. Take a trip to the Hardware Store, Babies R Us, Ikea, Amazon or an Earthquake Preparedness Store and purchase the supplies you need to anchor your furniture to the wall.  The staff in these stores should be able to help you select the right anchor for your furniture.
  3. Complete the task ensuring you have properly anchored your furniture to prevent it fro toppling over during an earthquake.

Week 13 we will look at what else you can do in your home to make it safer for you, your family and pets during an earthquake. Have questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Until next week – Stay safe and get you, your family and pets prepared.

Jackie Kloosterboer – BIO

Jackie Kloosterboer has been leading the way in earthquake preparedness for 2 decades presenting more than 100 Earthquake Preparedness sessions each year to groups and businesses. She is often interviewed by a variety of media outlets across Canada as she promotes the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness.

As an Emergency Preparedness Specialist and an Instructor with the Justice Institute of BC Jackie travels across Canada teaching people how to respond to disasters to help those who have been displaced. Throughout British Columbia Jackie has taken on leadership roles assisting those who have been impacted by disaster.

Contact Jackie to speak at your next group or business event to help you get prepared for earthquakes or whatever disaster comes your way. Jackie will lead you through the necessary steps helping you identify what is important to you and your family or business.  

Contact Jackie with any questions or to book her for your next event at jackie@survive-it.ca or call (604) 355-2414


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