IEMA Offers Tips for Protecting Homes, Businesses from Natural Hazards

IEMA Preparedness Campaign highlights hazard mitigation in January.

With the always looming possibility of some kind of natural disaster,  throughout January, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will offer tips for protecting homes and businesses as part of its 2013 Preparedness Campaign.

Knowing the natural hazards in your area is the first step toward reducing your risk.  One hazard affecting much of Illinois, particularly the southern half of the state, is earthquakes.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone stretches from along the Mississippi River valley from Southern Illinois to Mississippi. The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located in Southeastern Illinois, also poses an earthquake risk for the state.

IEMA is encouraging people to register for the third annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, a multi-state earthquake drill that will take place at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. The date for the 2013 ShakeOut drill coincides with the 201st anniversary of the Feb. 7, 1812, earthquake near New Madrid, Missouri, the last of that series of major earthquakes.

To date, more than 130,000 Illinois participants are registered for the drill.  Last year, more than 2.4 million people in nine states participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, including nearly 500,000 in Illinois.

To register for the drill, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus

Tips for making your home more earthquake resistant include:

  • Hot water heaters – Install a strap or bracing kit to your hot water heater, securing it to the wall studs.  A secure hot water heater can prevent fires and water damage during an earthquake.  Have a licensed plumber install flexible gas and water line connector pipes to your water heater.  These are safer than rigid pipes during an earthquake.
  • TVs, computers and other home electronics – Secure these items with special strapping designed to be earthquake resistance or by using heavy duty “hook and loop” tape.  This will help protect valuable equipment as well as make your home safer by preventing injury or death from falling items during an earthquake.
  • Furniture and Appliances – Bookcases, armoires, shelving units and refrigerators should be anchored to wall studs to prevent tipping that could cause injury. Tall, top-heaving furniture and appliances should be secured with nylon straps or L-brackets attached to the wall studs.
  • Cabinets – Kitchen and bathroom cabinets should have child-safety latches installed to prevent items such as dishware and cleaning supplies from spilling out during an earthquake.

IEMA developed an interactive Home Hazard Hunt that allows people to locate earthquake hazards in a home and learn more about how to reduce the risks.  The Home Hazard Hunt and more information about hazard mitigation are available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering two free webinars on earthquake mitigation. A webinar on Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. will offer suggestions for reducing the risks of nonstructural earthquake damage. A webinar on Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. will focus on earthquake safety and mitigation for schools.  Links to information about both webinars can be found on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov).

The above information is a press release provided by the Illinois Emergency Management Association.


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