It has been 19 years since that devastating earthquake hit Los Angeles. For some, that may be hard to believe. For others, it may seem like just yesterday. The most dangerous thing about earthquakes, besides their obvious ability to cause massive destruction, is that even scientists can’t predict them with any certainty. Since then, great measures have been taken toward increasing earthquake safety and readiness. But often as time passes, we tend to forget such devastating events.
Let’s recap: The Northridge earthquake hit the San Fernando Valley measuring at a 6.7 on the Richter scale. The catastrophic damage it caused was estimated at $15 billion. Freeway overpasses were cut in half. Almost 60 people were killed, and over 20,000 were left homeless by the quake.
In an instant, thousands upon thousands of lives were forever changed by this completely unpredictable event.
“On this 19th Anniversary of the Northridge earthquake we must be aware of our region’s ever changing geology,” said Commissioner Dave Jones via press release on the California Department of Insurance website. “The Northridge earthquake was a tragic event that impacted many Californians. We must be more prepared for the next big earthquake that scientists say may come at any time” (emphasis added).
Here’s more troubling news: Based on a data review by the Department of Insurance, almost 90 percent of homeowners and renters do not have earthquake insurance. Just last month, California experienced an earthquake off the San Diego coast—almost as big as the Northridge earthquake. It was 6.3 on the Richter scale, and scientists called it the biggest of 2012—one that could have easily caused major land damage or even a tsunami, because it was located underwater.
Let’s don’t forget how devastating earthquakes can be. Although they are virtually unpredictable, there are ways to be prepared and lessen the damage they may cause.
Be Prepared for an Earthquake
Courtesy of the California Insurance Commissioner:
- Review your insurance policies at least once a year with your insurance agent or broker to ensure you have adequate coverage.
- Consider purchasing an earthquake policy if your home is in an earthquake-prone area, doesn’t meet current building standards, or is built on unstable ground.
- Take measures to retrofit your home to increase your safety during an earthquake (Milestone Building Group can help!)
- Brace your water heater to minimize the risks of fire and water damage caused by water heaters that topple during earthquakes. (Click here for our instructions and why that is important.)
- Bolting your home’s wood frame to its foundation can prevent damage resulting from the structure sliding off its foundation. And for houses on raised foundations, the bracing of “cripple walls” can also reduce damage from earthquakes.
- Mobile home owners should use earthquake-bracing systems to reduce the risk of damage from homes slipping off support jacks.
- Fasten cupboard doors with child-proof latches to prevent them from opening and spilling their contents.
- Secure bookcases, mirrors, televisions and other tall or heavy objects to wall studs.
- Gas appliances should have flexible attachments, and family members should be familiar with gas shut-off techniques.
Not all Orange County water and fire restoration companies can help with earthquake damage, but Milestone Building Group can. Our team of professionals is ready to assist you! If your Orange County home is damaged from an earthquake, please call us for an estimate: (877) 732-8471