5 tips for making your home more earthquake safe

Homeowners, renters and business owners can take five easy steps to help reduce damage or injury from an earthquake. Each of the steps won’t cost much and is easy to complete, but can make a big difference when the ground shakes, said Joseph King, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a trade group.

The five actions everyone should take no matter where they live:

1. Make sure the water heater is braced so it will not move or tip, preventing water pipes from shaking loose and gas from rupturing, which could cause a fire.

2. Be sure flat panel televisions are mounted security to the wall, which means the brackets should be bolted to wall studs.

3. Large bookcases should be anchored to walls. This is especially important if you have small children. Also heavy mirrors and pictures should have their frames securely attached to walls.

4. Cabinet drawers and doors should have latches that keep them securely closed to prevent contents from spilling out in a quake.

5. Fluorescent tube lights should be fitted with plastic sleeves that keep the tubes from crashing to the floor and exploding.

“We recommend these steps as something every homeowner could do around the country to prevent damage and injury from happening especially from things like a tipping water heater or a bookshelf,” he said.

More details are on the group’s website at: http://bit.ly/nAKzl4 .