As a California resident in the midst of moving into a new apartment, earthquake security has been at the forefront of my mind. I’d love to value design — like any other Pinterest-minded millennial — above all else in setting up a home, but there are security concerns I need to keep in mind regarding the potential for this type of natural disaster.

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Earthquakes are unpredictable, and the actions you need to perform to secure your home against them must happen long before one has actually hit. With so many living in risk-averse areas, we created a quick guide for ways to protect yourself.

Keep Hazardous Items Low To The Ground

An earthquake can cause items placed on high shelves to fall from their designated places. To avoid possible injury, keep heavy kitchenware or glass items on the ground or on shelves low to the ground. You can also keep items secured behind affixed cabinet doors.

Those who have embraced the indoor plant trend should also take precaution. Keep your flora, especially those in heavy pots, off of high shelves or the ceiling.

Incorporate Sturdy Furniture Items Into Your Design Plan

In the event of an earthquake, safety experts recommend taking cover under a sturdy piece of furniture if available. You can incorporate such items, if possible, into your decor plans for each room of your home. That way, you have a go-to spot to duck under wherever you may be standing at the time a disaster strikes. Keep the surface of these sturdy items free of any hazardous decorations (vases that could shatter, glassware, heavy books, etc.) so they are always available as potential shelter options.

Secure Tall And Heavy Items

Earthquakes can also cause larger furniture items or appliances to shift or topple over. Secure these items — such as bookcases, china cabinets and water heaters — to the wall to prevent shifting. FEMA recommends using fasteners like nylon straps or closed hooks.

Water heaters and gas appliances can also be attached to wall studs for increased safety.

Consider Your Head

While hanging ceiling plants are undoubtedly a good look, they are not the best move when it comes to earthquake security. You should take precautions to avoid attaching any items to the ceiling that could fall onto your head while sleeping or sitting in commonly-used areas. Don’t install chandeliers above your living room sitting area, for example, and don’t hang any heavy paintings, plants or mirrors near your bed. It’s also likely a good idea to avoid heavy curtain rods if you sleep underneath a window.

Address Structural Concerns

If you’re a homeowner, you can also make sure that the structure of your home itself is earthquake proof. FEMA warns against potential issues like weak crawl spaces and structures not anchored to their foundations.

Consider Rental Insurance

On the flipside, renters can take specific precautions for their particular situations. While not in control of structural choices of the home, you can take out renter’s insurance, which can ease the financial burden of any damage caused in a potential earthquake.

Have An Emergency Kit Ready

While earthquake proofing your living space, it’s a good idea to store an emergency kit in a go-to place. This can include items like water, a flashlight, and nonperishable food items.

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Earthquake safety is important, and the above is by no means an exhaustive list of steps you can take to help secure yourself. While you may have a strong pull towards buying a bevy of hanging plants while scrolling through Instagram, that may not be the best way to create a protected home. If you’re looking for a few quick places to start the protection process, try moving your heavy items low to the ground, avoiding hanging things that could fall onto your head, and attaching items to your walls. Mason jars will still look cute on a low kitchen shelf.

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