Yes, it’s been 19 years since an earthquake caused some serious devastation to Los Angeles. It almost seems like remembering a movie starting Bruce Willis where he ends up saving the world. But it really happened. So why are we talking about it? Because it’s important to remember earthquake safety all the time. The most dangerous thing about earthquakes, besides their ability for destruction, is that even scientists cannot predict them with any certainty.
Nineteen years ago last Thursday, the San Fernando Valley in Southern California was violently shaken by what is now known as the Northridge earthquake. Lives were lost, and there was widespread catastrophic damage estimated at $15 billion in the earthquake that measured 6.7 on the Richter scale. Freeway overpasses were cut in half. Almost 60 people were killed, and over 20,000 were made homeless by the quake. Is that serious enough for a reminder?
“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.”
Here’s some more scary news: Based on a data review by the Department of Insurance, almost 90 percent of homeowners and renters do not have earthquake insurance. And just last month, California experienced an earthquake off the San Diego coast—and it was 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, since it was located underwater.
We in California are usually so blasé about earthquakes that we easily forget how devastating they can be. We, on the other hand, have first-hand experience at how terrible the aftermath of an earthquake is. So that’s why we want to share the Commissioner’s list of how to be prepared for an earthquake:
- Review your insurance policies at least once each year with your 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 (We can help you with this!)
- 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 it’s 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 chance 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 water and fire restoration companies can help with earthquake damage, but PDR Inland Empire can. Why? Because we are experienced contractors, and our team of professionals, both in the office and out in the field, have advanced degrees in engineering, healthcare, science, construction management and accounting. We promise that this is a combination of expertise that other restoration companies in Southern California cannot offer. So if your house is damaged from an earthquake, please call us for an estimate: (877) 732-8471