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Even though we still can’t predict earthquakes or how strong they’ll be, you can take steps to prepare for one and mitigate the amount of damage it causes.

  1. Make sure your home is stable. Have a licensed contractor check the chimney, roof and foundation for issues. Taking the time now to ensure that the house is bolted to the foundation and that the roof and chimney are in good shape can minimize damage later.

  2. Secure the water heater. Approved strapping should be used to tightly fasten the water heater to the wall studs.

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  3. Attach bookcases, heavy furnishings and appliances to walls and floors. The less things can move and/or tip, the better off you’ll be.

  4. Know where your shutoff valves are. Obviously, you need to have your water, gas and electric running every day, but if an earthquake happens, you’ll need to be able to shut them off quickly to keep your home and family safe.

  5. Keep heavy shoes and gloves near the bed. If an earthquake happens during the night, these will protect your feet and hands from debris, broken glass and other sharp objects on the floor or around your home.

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  6. Prepare an emergency kit, just in case. Gather first-aid supplies, as well as flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, canned food (and a can opener), a fire extinguisher (ABC rated), bottled water, cash, blankets, clothing and sanitary/hygienic supplies.