SPRINGFIELD – An earthquake can’t be prevented, but the damage it could cause to homes and buildings can be minimized. As part of the state’s observance of Earthquake Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today offered several tips for making structures more earthquake resistant.
“A few simple, inexpensive steps today could save you money and prevent serious injury during an earthquake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “The 5.4 magnitude earthquake that shook southeastern Illinois in April 2008 caused minimal damage, but the next time we may not be so lucky.”
Tips for making homes earthquake resistant include:
• Strap bookcases to walls to prevent tipping.
• Strap or brace water heaters to wall studs.
• Avoid hanging heavy pictures and mirrors over beds.
• Brace or replace masonry chimneys.
• Secure TVs, computers and other electrical components.
• Prevent refrigerators, washers and other heavy appliances from rolling by blocking rollers.
• Secure gas lines by installing flexible connectors to appliances.
• Know how and when to shut off utilities.
IEMA’s interactive “Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt” provides detailed information on how to make a home more resistant to earthquake damage. The hunt is available on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov).
On Thursday, April 28 at 10:15 a.m., Illinois and 10 other states will participate in “The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut,” a one-minute earthquake drill in which at least two million people will practice the life-saving “Drop, Cover and Hold On” action. The slogan reminds people to “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at http://www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness.
Nearly 90,000 Illinois residents have already registered to participate in the drill.
Besides Illinois, other states participating in the drill include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee.