Earthquake-Proof Your Shelves

You can't ever be too prepared for something like an earthquake that can damage your home without warning.

By Michelle Haskins

 

If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you have probably wondered how to earthquake proof your shelving. Natural disasters are an absolute nightmare for everyone, but earthquakes are unique in that you need to be continuously prepared as they can strike at any time without warning. Property damage can be extreme when an earthquake hits, especially for things you keep at high levels that are susceptible to falling over and breaking. There’s nothing you can do to stop unexpected shaking, but there are ways to prevent the treasures you keep on the self from being destroyed when the earth decides to shake things up. Here’s how to secure selves:

 

Sturdy Shelving

Investing in sturdy, well-made shelves is your first line of defense when it comes to keeping things in place during an earthquake. Good quality wood or a heavy duty metal shelving set up is able to withstand the shaking and even slamming that can occur when a big one hits. If you want shelves to stay up, avoid snap-together plastic shelves and go for something well-built and sturdy.

 

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Secure Shelves to the Wall

Once you’ve got yourself some study shelves, it’s time to install them properly. The ideal earthquake-proof shelves are going to be attached to studs, not just the drywall, for maximum support. Using a stud finder, locate the studs in the wall and mount the shelves accordingly. Utilize wall studs to secure other shelf-like items to the wall such as armoires, tall bookcases, china hutches and even tall furniture. You can pick up kits that use adhesive to attached nylon straps to furniture that you bolt to the wall. Keeping everything that you can secured to walls will greatly reduce potential damage during an earthquake.

 

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Secure the Front

An earthquake-proof shelf won’t help you much if your items can bounce off the front edge and fall to their doom. Installing shelf restraints can be a stylish addition to a shelf. Try adding a 1x2-inch piece of wood or a piece of similar size across the front of wood shelving for a sleek way to keep objects from sliding off. You could also utilize a colorful strap or bungee cord. Feel free to get creative. Bungee cords are a favorite in restaurant pantries and homes alike for securing liquor bottles to shelves -- as wine and liquor collections can be the shelve-dwellers that are most expensive to replace.

 

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Get a Grip

A great way to secure items to a shelve without compromise style is to utilize what’s called “museum putty.” This tacky adhesive can be found at any home supply store for only a few dollars. This stuff is ideal for securing collectibles and household breakables from moving around during an earthquake. It’s simple to use and removes easily without leaving any traces on shelves or treasured possessions.

 

Locks On Cupboards

Kitchen cupboards have a tendency to swing open during an earthquake, allowing any kitchen items to be thrown from shelves during the shaking. Utilize inexpensive child-proof cupboard locks to keep the doors closed and all the items inside.

 

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Photo courtesy of thingiverse.com

 

You can't ever be too prepared for something like an earthquake that can damage your home without warning. Try some of these home safety tips to keep your house and items together and in one piece. Always keep any household cleaners or hazardous chemicals tightly sealed on low-level shelves.

 

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How do you keep your home earthquake safe? What are some go-to earthquake safety tips that have proven to keep your house in order?