Lindol Preparedness: How Safely Placed Are Your Furniture?
Better be safe than sorry.
Home is our sanctuary. Given this, it's our responsibility to ensure the safety of our home, particularly against natural calamities. One event that poses considerable threat to human lives is an earthquake, locally known as lindol. A significant part of lindol preparedness is securing furniture for safety. Here are some necessary steps for earthquake-readiness, which focuses on fastening furniture to minimize risk and damage.
7 tips for adequate lindol preparedness for furniture
Understand the Danger
Before delving into specifics, it's important to understand the risks. During an intense earthquake, unsecured furniture might tip over, slide, or move. As a result, it can hurt people in your home or damage other parts of the home.
Flimsy bookcases may topple, glassware may shatter, and sizable appliances may skid across the floor. The good thing is these are preventable, as long as you properly secure the furniture that may move around during the earthquake and even the aftershocks. Thus, securing fixtures isn't just about damage control; it's a crucial preventive measure for you and your stuff.
Identify Potential Hazards
Look around your home and make a list of furniture, appliances, or decorations that could move or fall when the ground starts shaking violently. Be attentive to tall, heavy, or expensive items, such as bookshelves, wardrobes, fridges, flat-screen TVs, and mirrors. Also consider small items that, when broken, can create harmful debris. Stuff that is made of glass or ceramics is a sure candidate under this category.
Once you’re done listing down the items, have a plan on how to rearrange everything so the hazard-related ones will not pose danger. You may draw a rough blueprint or layout or even ask someone to help you with the brainstorming process before you move on to the next tip.
Secure Heavy Furniture
Having identified the potential hazards at home, it's now time to secure them. For heavy and tall furniture, use flexible straps or L-brackets to anchor them to a wall stud. This method lets the furniture sway without falling over during an earthquake. Remember, it's not about preventing movement altogether, but controlling it to prevent damage or injury.
To secure your heavy furniture safely, it's essential to anchor it firmly in place by attaching it to a wall stud—the vertical frames behind the wall surface. Simply screwing the brackets or straps into drywall won't hold during earthquakes.
A stud finder, which can be purchased from a home improvement store, can help you pinpoint the exact location of the studs in your walls. Once you locate these, make sure you anchor the furniture to them to keep them firmly in place.
Prevent Items from Falling
For items placed on shelves or other tall furniture, prevent them from falling by using quake putty, lip or edge barriers, or non-slip mats. Quake putty is a removable adhesive that is perfect for securing smaller objects such as photo frames, vases, or ornaments. Lip or edge barriers and non-slip mats, on the other hand, can keep larger items from slipping off surfaces.
Home appliances should also have special consideration. Use flexible cable or braided wire to secure refrigerators, washing machines, or dryers to wall studs. For appliances with gas or water connections, it's important to use flexible connections if possible to prevent pipes from breaking.
Protect Windows and Glassware
Windows and other glass objects can shatter and result in dangerous shards. Apply safety film to windows, glass doors, and mirrors to prevent them from shattering upon impact. For dishes and glassware, store them in lower cabinets or use child-proof locks on the upper ones to prevent them from opening during an earthquake.
Maintain and Inspect Regularly
Once you have everything in place, you need to do rounds of inspection, preferably at least once a month. Make sure that your whole household knows what to do in case of an earthquake and that your safety measures are always up to date.
We are in the best position to ensure the safety of our home and family. Preparing for an earthquake may seem daunting, but it is an essential duty that we must not neglect. Remember, though earthquakes may be a fact of life that we can do little to prevent, we can do a lot to prepare and lessen their impact, and a significant part of that preparation is securing our furniture for safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools will I need to secure my furniture?
The tools will vary depending on the methods and fixtures you use. Generally, you'll need a stud finder, a drill, screws, and the securing materials like L-brackets or flexible straps. Quake putty and safety film for glassware and windows are other supplies you might need.
Can all types of furniture and appliances be secured using the same method?
No, different types of furniture and appliances may require different securing methods. Heavy, tall furniture like bookshelves or wardrobes will need sturdy L-brackets or flexible straps, while smaller, delicate objects can be secured using quake putty.
Should every piece of furniture in my home be secured?
While it's ideal to secure as many items as possible, you should prioritize tall, heavy, and expensive items that could do a lot of damage if they moved or toppled. Also, any objects which could block exit routes in the event of an earthquake should certainly be secured.
I live in a rented house or apartment. Can I still secure my furniture?
Yes, but it's important to communicate with your landlord or property manager before making any significant modifications. There are other non-invasive methods you can use, such as placing heavy items on lower shelves or using non-slip pads to prevent items from shifting.
Is securing furniture worth the investment?
Absolutely. While we hope you never have to experience an earthquake, being prepared by securing your furniture is a proactive measure that can prevent injuries and potential but significant property damage. It provides peace of mind, knowing you've taken steps to keep your family and home safe.
Can furniture straps accommodate all types of furniture?
Yes and no. Furniture straps are versatile and can be used on a range of bulky furniture items like bookshelves, wardrobes, or tall dressers. However, they may not be suitable for antique or delicately designed furniture, as they might mar the surface. Always assess the furniture before choosing a securing method.
What can I do to secure hanging fixtures like chandeliers and pot racks?
For overhead fixtures, use safety cable. Run the cable through the fixture and secure it tightly to a strong material in your ceiling, like a ceiling joist. For hanging pots and pans, consider removing them from their hangers and storing them in a secure location during periods of high seismic activity.
How do I know if my secured furniture is safe enough?
Conducting regular checks and maintenance on your secured furniture can help ensure it's safe. Make sure the brackets or straps are still solidly attached and haven't loosened over time. If doubt remains, consult with a professional.
Are there special considerations when securing furniture for children and elderly family members?
Yes, children and elderly have specific safety considerations. Secure all heavy furniture in areas where they spend time. Install safety gates for stairs to prevent falls and consider padding edges of furniture to prevent possible bodily injuries.
More on Realliving.com.ph