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A Shaky Reminder to ‘Fix. Fasten. Don’t Forget.’

Recent earthquake activity and the first anniversary of the Kaikoura earthquake this week, are reminders for people to quake-safe their homes. 

General Manager Research and Education Dr Hugh Cowan says that while an earthquake can happen at any time, people can take steps to protect themselves and their property when they do occur.

“If tall furniture doesn’t fall over, if chimneys don’t collapse and if a house stays on its foundations, then we know your chance of being injured is lower, and your home is likely to suffer less damage. It comes down to ‘Fix. Fasten. Don’t Forget’.

“A trip to the hardware store for some screws and brackets may be the difference between a bookshelf staying upright in an earthquake or falling over. This reduces the risking of damage to your home and belongings but also the danger to people,” Dr Cowan says. 

“Kits can be purchased to secure hot water cylinders and help them to stay in place during an earthquake. On a practical level, an undamaged water cylinder may also provide a source of clean water in an emergency.” 

Dr Cowan says while New Zealanders are aware that earthquakes are unpredictable, EQC’s latest research shows there’s still much work to be done in people’s homes to reduce the severity of damage. 

“If we look at what caused the most damage to houses during the Canterbury earthquakes, or the more recent Kaikoura earthquakes, then chimneys and foundations would top the list. These are things homeowners can take action on. 

“If you have a chimney, check if it’s damaged or insecure. Could you get it replace it with a metal flue? Just removing the part above the roof will make it more stable. Check your home’s foundations. Are the piles in good condition and is your home properly secured to its piles? If you do need to carry out repairs, get advice from a licensed building practitioner. 

“Investing in earthquake preparation, whether in time or money, will reduce damage and disruption if a large earthquake does happen. We only have to look back a year to see what can happen in only a few seconds. Please Fix. Fasten. Don’t Forget,” Dr Cowan says.

EQC Media Contact: or 029 978 643

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