Preparing Your Apartment for an Earthquake

apartment_earthquakeEarthquakes have the potential to do a lot of damage — and they’re very frightening to experience. We’ve been talking a lot here recently about Apartment Disaster Preparedness, and if you live in a place that’s prone to earthquakes, you should definitely take the time to make sure you and your apartment are prepared. Having a plan and knowing what to do to stay safe can really help you should you ever — and we sure hope you don’t — experience an earthquake.

Get Renters Insurance

There’s a reason so many people stress the importance of buying renters insurance: When you need it, you’ll be so glad you have it. We’ve talked about renters insurance here before, and we’ll say it again: it’s something you should really have if you’re renting an apartment. While your landlord most likely has insurance, your possessions will not be covered should a disaster happen.

Be Prepared

Take time to prepare for an earthquake so you’ll know what to do if one ever happens. Here are some of the things FEMA recommends doing to protect your family, yourself and your property (to see the full list, visit their website):

  • Use lower shelves to store large or heavy things, and fasten shelves, mirrors and large picture frames to your walls
  • Use low shelves to store bottled foods, china, glass and other breakables. You could also store these things in cabinets that fasten shut
  • Know where the safe spots are in your apartment: under a sturdy table, against an inside wall
  • Hold earthquake drills

During an Earthquake

Part of being prepared is knowing what to do during an actual earthquake. Stay calm and stay safe. If you’re indoors, FEMA recommends that you “drop, cover and hold on.” Drop to the ground, take cover (get under a sturdy table or sturdy piece of furniture) and hold on until the shaking subsides. If you are unable to find a sturdy piece of furniture, crouch in an inside corner of the building and use your arms to cover your face and head. You should stay away from windows, glass, outside doors, outside walls and anything that could fall. Remember not to use elevators and stay inside until the shaking stops.

If you’re in bed when an earthquake happens, FEMA advises to stay there and cover your head with a pillow — but if there’s something like a light fixture that could fall on you, move to the closest safe place.

Just a reminder: If you’re looking for a new home, has great tools to help you search for apartments.