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Affordable household products found to reduce damage to household items during earthquake simulation

From sticking $4 Blu Tack to your fragile valuables to securing your TV with a $100 safety strap, Toka Tū Ake EQC has partnered with Consumer NZ to investigate the best ways to quake safe the things you love – and the results were sometimes surprising. 

“Preparing now can make a big difference when it comes to the impact of an earthquake, and by using items like the ones we tested, you can help reduce damage and loss from a damaging earthquake. We want to ensure all Kiwi homes have access to knowledge and products that can prepare us for natural disasters and minimise as much damage to our precious treasures,” said Toka Tū Ake EQC Public Education Manager Hamish Armstrong. 

Securing items 1

Shake testing on a bookshelf.

Consumer NZ examined over 20 items in its product testing lab to investigate how effectively they could make household objects safer and more secure. This included simulating shaking to assess which products work best to secure everything from televisions to vases. This was also filmed to show the products in action, which you can see on Consumer NZ's Instagram(external link).

“Although many of us think of earthquakes as events that won’t happen to us, our recent history has shown how destructive they can be – including to things around the home. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to secure the items you love, including by hanging pictures with proper hooks (not just nails), using non-stick mats and gels for things on your shelves, and tethering your TVs, bookcases and cabinets. But it turns out not all quake-safe products are equal,” Armstrong said. 

“The Consumer NZ testers concluded that items like Blu Tack were often as good at securing items to shelves as the more expensive products. We were pleased to see a great range of products that performed well for securing the TV or keeping cupboard doors closed. But they also found a strap that came apart when shaken, and a safety strap that was too difficult to assemble – even by the experts. So, it’s definitely worth considering your options and shopping around.”

Securing items 2

Securing a TV with a strap.

Consumer NZ is dedicated to championing and empowering consumers in Aotearoa – providing impartial and comprehensive consumer information and advice to help New Zealanders get a fair deal.

The wide range of products tested allows households to pick and choose which quake safe items are within their budget and are still top quality. With Toka Tū Ake EQC’s sponsorship, the natural hazard information provided will be freely available to all New Zealanders on Consumer NZ’s website(external link).

“Toka Tū Ake EQC is committed to help inform New Zealanders about actions they can take to make their homes safer and stronger for natural hazards,” says Armstrong.

“By raising awareness of simple actions that can be done, we aim to ensure that New Zealanders are well equipped and better prepared for minimising the impact of a natural disaster.”

As earthquakes and other natural hazards are a part of life here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we need to do what we can to ensure we are prepared when and if disaster strikes. The items tested represent some of the quick and easy actions we can take to make our homes safer and stronger.

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