Six household items that pose serious hazards during an Earthquake

December 29, 2023 by jngijamaica

As Jamaica is situated on a fault line, it means that we are at higher risk of earthquakes. Given the unpredictable nature of earthquakes, safeguarding our homes takes on paramount importance to mitigate against injuries, damage to property and loss of life.

Securing our homes against potential hazards during an earthquake is not only a precautionary measure but also responsible preparedness.

In anticipation of Earthquake Awareness Week, observed in January every year, JN General Insurance reaffirms its commitment in fostering a culture of safety for individuals and their properties. As part of its dedication to proactive risk management, the company shares six things in the home that pose a hazard during an earthquake and tips on how to mitigate the risks.

  1. Unsecured Furniture: Heavy furniture like tall bookshelves and cabinets, can topple over during an earthquake, causing injury to those nearby or blocking escape routes.  Avoid placing heavy items on high shelves.  Also, install secure latches on cupboard doors to keep them closed and to reduce the likelihood of things falling out.

  2. Glass and Mirrors: Broken glass can cause severe injuries during an earthquake. Opt for mirrors that can be bolted to walls.  Apply a shatter proof film that will hold broken glass together.

  1. Hanging Fixtures: Fixtures such as chandeliers or ceiling fans can fall during an earthquake causing injuries or damage. Ensure that these fixtures are securely anchored to the ceiling.
  1. Hanging Plants: Hanging plants can pose a risk during earthquakes due to their tendency to swing widely. To minimise this hazard, opt for lightweight, plastic containers or baskets instead of heavier ceramic ones, thus reducing the potential for serious injuries if they strike someone in the head.
  1. Heavy Objects Above the Bed: Be mindful of objects on the wall above your bed, such as paintings, framed photographs, or items on shelves that could fall and cause injury. If your bed is located near a glass window, consider relocating it to an interior wall away from glass windows that could shatter and scatter around the room. 
  1. Gas cylinders. A 100-pound gas cylinder can be quite dangerous if it topples over. Anchor it to the wall using a chain or stainless-steel cable.  If the gas cylinder is located outdoors, consider installing a second shut-off valve inside the kitchen which can be accessed quickly during an earthquake.

Being aware of potential hazards and taking proactive measures to secure your home can significantly reduce the risks associated with earthquakes. Regular inspections, proper anchoring, and adherence to safety guidelines contribute to a safer living environment for you and your family.