Fix. Fasten. Don't Forget.

5 Important things to fix & fasten

(Choose one or keep scrolling)

  1. 1. Foundations
  2. 2. Chimneys
  3. 3. Tall furniture
  4. 4. Hot water cylinder
  5. 5. Valuables


1. Foundations

If your house sits on timber or concrete piles but is not properly supported, it can fall off the piles during an earthquake.

Check that your house is well-fixed to its foundations and that it is properly braced.

If not, you can:

  • Wire, bolt or bracket bearers to piles – a wide range of bracket options are available from most hardware stores;
  • Nail strong plywood sheets to the inside of the framing in the sub-floor space;
  • Nail strong plywood sheets to brace and clad outside piles.

If extensions have been made to the property, it pays to ensure the foundations are well-tied together to avoid the potential for the two parts to separate or grind together during a strong quake.

Advice from a licensed building practitioner is recommended before starting the work.

Find out more: Download the brochure

You can also find out more about securing your foundations in our early quake safe videos.

  • Brackets
  • Hammer
  • Nails (Z or gang are the most appropriate)
  • Plywood sheets


2. Chimneys

Some homes built before the 1970s have a brick or concrete masonry chimney, although the fireplace may no longer be in use. In an earthquake, these chimneys can collapse and cause damage to what is below.

The portion of the chimney that sits above the roofline can be particularly hazardous. This can be braced, or even removed and replaced with a lighter metal flue in conjunction with the installation of a solid fuel heater.

  1. Have a close look at your chimney. If it is a lightweight metal flue there is little risk, but if it is a heavy brick or older concrete chimney it is likely to be unreinforced, and you should have it checked by a professional engineer.
  2. Check your chimney for:

    • cracks,
    • loose or broken bricks
    • loose masonry or plaster,
    • a lean or twist

    These are signs that you have a more serious problem that needs immediate attention.

  3. If your chimney has any of the above issues, the first thing you should do is contact a registered builder.


3. Securing tall furniture

The taller something is, the more easily it will start rocking and topple, particularly if it's top-heavy. Falling furniture can be dangerous and destructive. Securing it to the wall is usually straightforward.

Step 1. Start by marking on the wall where the top of the furniture comes to and then move it away from the wall. Find where the studs are in the wall (by tapping lightly) and then use 63mm 12-gauge screws to screw the brackets into place before moving the furniture back.

If you would like the brackets hidden as much as possible, attach them as two upside down "L's".

Step 2. Screw the other arm of the brackets down onto the furniture with 8-gauge screws of 15-25mm length.

Find out more: Download the brochure

  • Standard 65mm steel brackets – for each piece of furniture
  • 63mm 12-gauge screws – to affix brackets to wall
  • 15-25mm 8-gauge screws – to affix furniture to brackets
  • A drill


4. Hot water cylinder

Even small shakes can cause hot water cylinders to rock enough to crack pipes, often causing expensive and messy water damage. In large quakes, the cylinder can rock on its base or slide sideways, with hot water becoming a hazard. Both can deprive you of your largest source of drinking water after a disaster, as well as causing water damage. Securing a hot water cylinder is surprisingly easy.

  1. Screw or nail the timber blocks to the floor or shelving (make sure shelf is fastened). Cut timber blocks to size so they fit snugly between the top of the cylinder and walls and glue them into place. Ensure blocks are against wall framing.
  2. Screw two 8mm screw hooks into studs on either side at the same level as the blocks.
  3. Attach a 6mm turnbuckle to one hook and the end of the strap. Cut the strap to the length required, connect it to the other hook and use turnbuckle to make it tight.


  1. Shut water supply off at the "toby" i.e. the tap or valve on the water supply pipe to the house, to stop dirty water (from any broken street pipes) flowing back into your house.
  2. If any pipeline between the toby and your house is broken you should clamp the pipe or improvise in some way.
  3. Turn off the electricity before you start draining. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the cylinder and collect from the drainage point outside and near the cylinder.

Find out more: Download the brochure

  • Hot water cylinder restraint kit
  • Wooden blocks - to secure between cylinder and wall
  • A hammer/screwdriver
  • Nails and/or screws


5. Valuables

Even small shakes can damage or break ornaments and other objects. They can become flying weapons in bigger jolts, and leave a mess of dangerous glass and broken crockery.

Anything hanging on a conventional picture hook or nail is likely to come off, even in a moderate earthquake.

The glass on pictures and mirrors can shatter, creating a hazard. Securing these items is one of the easiest things you can do.

For ornaments

  1. Ensure both the bottom of the object and the surface it sits on are clean.
  2. Roll pieces of plastic putty (e.g. Blu tack or quake wax) into balls of equal size – the amount you need to use depends on the size, shape and weight of the object. Push on to bottom of object.
  3. Press the item down firmly, and gently twist back and forth a few times to get it to grip.

FOR SQUAT, HEAVY OBJECTS: Use non-slip mats and store heavy and/or fragile objects on lower shelves or in low closed cabinets.

For pictures & mirrors

Push hooks closed after hanging pictures or mirrors. Single-nail conventional picture hooks are fine for light pictures as long as the nail has been hammered into something solid like a wall stud.

Anything a little heavier will need a two- or three-nail picture hook, or possibly several hooks, and very heavy pictures or mirrors may need something even stronger. Also, don’t forget to use strong cord, not light string.

If the hook is hard to close, squeezing filler material into the gap will help to retain the cord in place.

Find out more: Download the brochure

  • Blu tack
  • Quake wax/Non-slip mats
  • Picture hooks
  • A hammer
  • Some nails

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