earthquake preparedness

California is due for a massive temblor.

And when the estimated 7.9 or higher magnitude quake hits Los Angeles, you’ll want to make sure you’ve prepared for it.

It’s estimated that 1,500 buildings in Southern California could collapse, while 300,000 structures would face severe damage.

As a homeowner, it’s up to you to make sure your structure is inspected for seismic safety and brought up to code with an earthquake retrofit. And if your home was built before 1963, there’s a good chance its foundation will need reinforcement.

Aside from making sure your structure is seismically safe, you also need to be prepared to sustain life without electricity, water and communication for at least three days.

Here are Julian Construction’s 7 tips for earthquake preparedness:

  1. Make your home safer: Secure large pieces of furniture to your walls and floors with fasteners, and remove any loose items that would be likely to fall and shatter during the shaking of a quake. Keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area. Know where your home’s electrical panel is, and which switches will turn off power to prevent electrical fires. And have an evacuation plan handy, noting which spaces are safe in your home and which evacuation routes to take.
  2. Keep emergency supplies: In the event of a large earthquake, you’ll want to make sure your family has enough drinking water for each person and pet for at least three days. Keep canned food (with easy open lids or a can opener) stocked, in addition to first aid supplies and family medications.
  3. Make copies of important documents: You’ll want to store your important documents in a safe area – like a safe – in addition to having copies of your home’s deed, birth certificates, passports, ID’s and driver’s licenses. Scanning these items and uploading them on a Google Drive is a great way to ensure they don’t get lost.
  4. Watch for Tsunami warnings: If you live near the coast, it’s especially important that you have access to a wireless radio to listen for tsunami alerts. If one is issued, you’ll want to move to higher ground, at least two miles away.
  5. Plan for your pets: Keep pet carries in your home in case of evacuation and make sure you have pet food and medication handy.
  6. Know your neighbors: If a major earthquake hits, you’ll want to know your neighbors in order to help organize local efforts. You should also keep a list of emergency contacts, and information for local shelters and relief centers in your emergency kit.
  7. Get your home inspected and insured for earthquakes: Have your home inspected by a foundation specialist to make sure it’s up to seismic code. If not, it’s important to have your home retrofitted as soon as possible. In addition to retrofitting measures, consider your insurance policies and see if your home is covered for disasters (flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes and etc.)

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.