Protect your property during an earthquake
Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation. Depending on the type of construction and the materials used in building your home, you may need to have it bolted or secured in another way to its foundation. If you are not sure that your home is securely anchored, contact a professional contractor. Buildings securely attached to their foundations are less likely to be severely damaged during earthquakes and become uninhabitable.
Bolt and brace hot water cylinders and gas appliances to wall studs. If the water heater tips over, the gas line could break, causing a fire hazard, and the water line could rupture. The water heater may be your best source of drinkable water following an earthquake. Consider having a licensed professional install flexible fittings for gas and water pipes.
Bolt bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy objects. During an earthquake, these items can fall over, causing damage or injury.
Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sleep or sit. Earthquakes can knock things off walls, causing damage or injury. Close picture hooks.
Brace overhead light fixtures. During earthquakes, overhead light fixtures may fall, causing damage or injury.
Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. The contents of cabinets can shift during the shaking of an earthquake. Latches will prevent cabinets from opening and spilling out the contents. Place large or heavy objects on shelves near the floor.
Secure large items that might fall and break.
Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed, latched metal cabinets.
Evaluate animal facilities and places your pets like to hide in, to ensure that any hazardous substances or structures are as safe as possible.
Consider having your building evaluated by a professional structural design engineer. Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, front and back decks, sliding glass doors, canopies,carports, and garage doors. This is particularly important if there are signs of structural defects, such as foundation cracks. Earthquakes can turn cracks into ruptures and make smaller problems bigger. A professional can give you advice on how to reduce potential damage.
Follow local seismic building standards and land use rules.
The Earthquake Commission (EQC)
The EQC was established by the Government in 1945 to provide earthquake and war damage cover for purchasers of fire insurance. Later, cover for other natural disasters was included and, later still, cover for war damage dropped.
The modern EQC is a Government-owned Crown Entity. It provides natural disaster insurance for residential property, administers the Natural Disaster Fund, and funds research and education on natural disasters and ways of reducing their impact.
Since the organisation was established, it has been collecting premiums from insured people for the Natural Disaster Fund.