By Vera Lang, BeSafeInsure.com
Sometimes earthquakes can barely be felt and live goes on as normal afterwards. However, even small earthquakes may cause devastating damage to your home over time. Often the damage to your home occurs after the earthquake, rather than during the earthquake.
Here are several self-inspections you can undertake after an earthquake to protect both your family plus your house.
Post Earthquake Safety Routine
1. As a minimum, check if there is a gas leak after an earthquake. However, it’s best to turn off the gas line altogether. If you can not turn off the gas and there is a gas leak, open the doors and everyone should leave the house immediately, and wait at a neighbor’s house. Call the fire department and wait for their arrival. Get an approximate timing for their arrival. If the gas pipeline is damaged or there is a smell of gas, do not use any gas or electric devices.
2. Another routine post-earthquake check is to look for broken or cracked water pipes in your home. If necessary, turn off the water. (Note: Even if your water pipes look ok, call the water company or check other authorities to determine if it’s safe to drink the water from the tab.)
3. Next, inspect the foundation of your home. Ensure it is not cracked nor sinking. If you find either kind of damage to your foundation, ensure everyone leaves the house till a professional examines and evaluates the problem and determines your home’s safety. While your house may still ‘feel’ secure, a sinking or cracked foundation may cause the home to collapse. Even small earth quake can cause foundation damage to your home, that sooner or later will lead to a collapse. If beams or columns are damaged leave the house as soon as possible and ask a civil agency to inspect and restore.
These are three important post-earthquake home safety self-inspections, that both ensure the safety of your family and avoid additional future damage to your home.
Post-Earthquake Community Care & Safety
For the overall safety of your community, after the earthquake, it is recommended that you:
1. Help each other for the disaster rescue. Have a look at the other buildings nearby. Their occupants may need your help.
2. Listen to the radio or watch TV any time, so you’re informed and not going with rumors.
3. If electric power is recovered after the power shutdown, do not use any electric devices right away but check first whether there is a leak of gas to keep away from any explosion or fire.
4. Do not use the telephone unless somebody has been injured or a building is damaged or burning. The emergency services may need all lines for the rescue.
About earthquake insurance
Earth quake insurance only covers damage caused by an actual event. And only after an earth quake actually occurred. Usually, earth quake insurance has a high “deductible”. In most states of the US, earth quake insurance is not a part of standard policies, but available at extra cost.