We love food, and spend a lot of time in our kitchen. However, it’s one of the most dangerous places to be in an earthquake, mostly because of items which fly out of cupboards and shelves and smash into shards on the floor. Check out this video with a simulation of an earthquake in a kitchen, showing what happens when cupboard doors fly open, vs. when they stay shut. It gives me some idea of the grisly mess we’d face without some earthquake prepping. Even if we’re not in the kitchen when it hits, earthquake preparation in the kitchen will help reduce the potential mess.
So, I’ve done some research and collected some tips to earthquake-proof the kitchen:
- Secure cupboard doors: Baby-proof plastic latches are working fine on our lower cupboards. For upper cupboards, I’ll glue a strip of moulding along the inside edges, and possibly find a latch that’s easy to open frequently (I’ll do a follow-up post on this one).
- Under-sink liquid cleansers can be put together in a bucket, so they won’t fall over and spill.
- Countertop storage containers should be plastic and able to withstand a fall to the floor.
- Knife blocks may tip over and spill knives onto the floor – fasten in place with quake putty.
- Fine china plates stacked up may rattle and break. Solution: a paper towel between each plate.
- Cup hooks placed far enough apart won’t smash each other if they start swinging.
- Surge protectors on the fridge, microwave and stove will prevent damage to appliances– power surges are common after earthquakes.
- Spice jar racks may need moulding or elastic bands added along the edges, so jars won’t fall out.
- Items on display can be protected by attaching them to a wall or hutch with velcro or duct tape.
- Expensive equipment or spices have high replacement value. Do a quick video tour of your kitchen, and put this a record in a safe place in case you need it for your insurance company.
- Pantry jars and shelves may need reinforcement, and a lip or moulding to stop jars from falling off. Fun read: I got a kick out of another blog’s funny and useful post called “Half-Ass Earthquake Proofing the Pantry“.
- Check gas appliance connectors, replace rigid connections with flexible ones that won’t break or bend in an earthquake.
- Secure large appliances so they don’t fall over –you may have already covered this one if you did prep step #2.
But if you decide to skip earthquake-proofing your kitchen, there is an easy-clean alternative. Just keep a big plastic dropcloth permanently rolled out on your kitchen floor, wear helmets, boots and gloves whenever you are in the kitchen, and keep a shovel handy to clear away the mess when it’s all over.
You also may want to stock up on paper towels.