GENERAL HAZARD REDUCTION
Even in structurally sound, earthquake-resistant buildings, damage from a major earthquake can be significant and expensive to repair. The contents of a building often represent more of a hazard than the building itself. Nonstructural elements, such as plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems should be secured to prevent flooding, fire and electrical shock.
Water heaters and other large appliances, such as furnaces, washers, dryers and refrigerators, should be bolted or strapped in place. If these appliances move during a quake, their size and weight can cause damage or injury. Bookcases, china closets and other pieces of furniture also should be secured. Heavy or breakable items should not be stored on high shelves where they could fall and cause damage or injury.
Broken gas lines are always a concern after an earthquake. Many repairable buildings have burned in fires caused by gas leaks. Automatic safety valves, which can be installed at the gas meter will shut off the gas during a major quake and help prevent leaks.