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Large furniture and appliances

Falling furniture and appliances, particularly tall or heavy items, can be a hazard during an earthquake. Secure these items and make your home safe in a natural disaster and every day.

Icon showing a large cabinet with arrow to wall

Use brackets to secure tall and heavy furniture

Large items of furniture can move a lot during earthquake shaking. They can also be a hazard if young children climb on them. The good news is making these items safer is pretty straightforward.

More on securing furniture

A trip to the hardware store and some handiwork now may reduce damage as well as inconvenience to you and your family following a natural disaster.

To secure bookshelves and cabinets

You will need:

  • two brackets for each piece of furniture
  • screws to fit the brackets to the wall and to the furniture
  • a drill.

Follow these steps:

  1. Mark the wall where the top of the furniture comes to, then move the furniture from the wall. 
  2. Find the studs in the wall by tapping lightly and listening for the duller sound of the stud. 
  3. Use 63mm 12-gauge screws to screw the brackets in place before moving the furniture back. To hide the brackets as much as possible, attach them as two upside Ls, with the bracket arm facing downwards against the wall.
  4. Screw the other arm of the bracket down onto the furniture with 15-25mm 8-gauge screws.

Fix. Fasten. Don't Forget.

Watch our video to see how to secure furniture to the wall.

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Icon showing a hot water cylinder

Securing hot water cylinders

Securing a hot water cylinder is surprisingly easy, and something you can do yourself.

More on securing hot water cylinders

You can buy hot water cylinder restraint kits from hardware stores. These have the strap, screws and turnbuckle you need. Follow the manufacturers’ installation instructions or follow these steps:

  1. Screw or nail timber blocks to the floor or any shelving it sits in or alongside (make sure the shelf is fastened). 
  2. Cut timber blocks to size so they fit snugly between the top of the cylinder and walls, then glue them into place. Ensure the blocks are fastened against the wall framing. 
  3. Screw two 8 mm screw hooks into the studs on either side at the same level as the blocks.
  4. Attach a turnbuckle to one hook and the end of the strap. Cut the strap to the length you need, connect it to the other hook and use the turnbuckle to make it tight.

Illustration of a supported hot water cylinder

Using your stored water

If your water supply is cut off by a natural disaster, or for some other reason, you can get water from your hot water cylinder or header tank.

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Icon of a fridge

Use straps to secure whiteware

Household whiteware items like as fridges, washing machines and freestanding ovens can be very heavy. That means they can do a lot of damage if they fall over in a quake.

More on whiteware straps

Restraint straps specifically designed for large appliances are available from hardware stores and online. These straps use an adhesive to stick to the top of the appliance and screws to attach the strap into a wall stud.

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TV icon

Use straps to secure televisions

Due to their tall and narrow shape, TVs are prone to toppling forward in a quake.

More on television straps
  • Use specialist restraint straps to secure the TV to the furniture it sits on.
  • A non-slip mat beneath the TV can also minimise movement, but should be used in conjunction with restraints.

Illustration of a free-standing TV with supporting straps

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Are your furniture and appliances secure?

  • Secure large items of furniture and whiteware with brackets or specialised straps.
  • Is your hot water cylinder secured? If not, buy a kit from the hardware store and secure your tank today.
  • Make a note to find out about replacing old pipes when you next get plumbing work done.