Home Garden

What Is Earthquake-Proofing?

When internal volcanic activity shifts the plates that construct the outer crust of the Earth's surface, earthquakes occur. These natural events can ibring minor or devastating damage, depending on the type of shaking that occurs and the proximity of human settlements to the epicenter of the quake. Earthquake proofing indicates fortifying buildings to survive an earthquake without collapse or damage.
  1. Structural Differences

    • Some structures withstand earthquakes better than others. Single story buildings with wooden frames are the most likely to survive an earthquake, since wood can shift and bend with the shaking ground without collapsing. A multi-story building, especially one made from brick that is not reinforced by beams in the walls, is the most at risk for earthquake damage.


    • When people earthquake proof their homes, they examine it for structural soundness. An earthquake-safe home is bolted to its foundation. If your house was built before 1940, it is not likely to be bolted to the ground. An earthquake-safe house features sill bolts every 4 feet around the parameter. Sill bolts that are strong enough to withstand earthquakes measure 5/8-by-8 1/2 inches.

    Cripple Walls

    • Homes that feature an open crawlspace between the ground and the first floor sometimes have cripple walls that can collapse during an earthquake. Cripple walls are built over open spaces or unstable portions of the foundation. They can be reinforced with large sheets of plywood to prevent collapse.

    Chimney Reinforcement

    • Debris from a falling chimney represents an earthquake hazard. During earthquake proofing, homeowners ensure that their chimneys are well reinforced and securely attached to the building. Examining the chimney for safety is especially important in homes built before 1950, when building codes were less stringent.

    Home Survey

    • In addition to ensuring that your home is structurally sound, you can protect yourself from earthquake danger by surveying each room and identifying hazards. For example, heavy ceiling ornaments could fall during a quake and must be safely secured. Bookshelves and other tall furniture that could fall over should be bolted to the walls. Be aware of falling glass as well, which causes most earthquake injuries, and place beds away from windows.