Tag: windows

Retrofit Your Home to Prevent Earthquake Damage


Are you a homeowner, property owner, remodeler or home builder, or home energy specialist? Take three and one-half minutes to watch this video showing retrofit steps for protecting a home against damage from earthquake and winter storms.

Remodel home for earthquake

Click image to see 3 minute video on home remodel

The video was posted on YouTube by the Canadian Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) in partnership with Desjardins Insurance.

Most of the steps are simple and would apply to ALL homes, no matter where they are located. As an owner, you could consider having these changes made to your home or rental properties.  As a member of the construction industry, you might want to recommend these changes to customers.

Some of the work you could do yourself, like installing a fire extinguisher. (The video recommends “at least one in every home.” We think you probably need more than one: in the kitchen, for sure, but in the garage, too, or in the laundry room area.)

You would need a licensed professional’s help for some of the other items, like installing a generator or snow melting system along the roof edge.

Even if you aren’t in an area prone to earthquakes, a number of the suggestions in the video will apply, enhancing your home’s security and safety as well as your ability to function in a number of emergency situations. In some cases, making these improvements might even give you a discount on home insurance costs.

If this video is of interest to you, you may also want to review these more detailed home improvement advisories. Whatever you can do to protect your home will help you sleep better at night. Plus, it may help with the resale value!

What other improvements do you think people should consider? Drop your suggestions into the comments box below!


Virginia Nicols
Emergency Plan Guide Team

Improving Building Safety – Windows


Building Structures and Safety

If you live in a single family home, there are a number of things you can do to make your home safer. Of course, each home is different. The risks associated with YOUR home will depend, in part, on its age (which may determine what building codes were in effect when it was built), style (one or two story, big windows, overhangs, etc.) and quality of construction.

However, the safety of nearly every home can be improved.

Let’s start with a study of windows.

Large panes of glass can be the “weak point” of the home. If you have the chance, stay away from them!! during an earthquake, windstorm or tornado.

Improving your chances with windows.

Broken window with securty glass
Safety glass film holds pieces of broken glass

When windows break, shards may all or be thrown across the room. You can mitigate flying shards by:

a. Installing tempered safety glass. It breaks or crumbles into small pieces. They may cut but probably won’t kill. Since 1977 Federal law has required that tub and shower enclosures be made of safety glass.

b. Installing solar/safety film (“window tinting”). When properly installed, this film is invisible and has double benefits: it saves energy AND keeps the windows from shattering. If you sleep under a window, installing solar film is the easiest and safest preventive measure.

c. Pulling drapes or shades. If you know danger is coming, pull down and close shutters or draw drapes. They will offer some protection against flying glass.

Look up from your computer right now.

Are you seated near a window that could blow out or break?  Is there a safer place in this room?  Action item:   take a tour of your whole house to identify the safest place in each room, away from breakable windows — and preferably under a sturdy piece of furniture.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S.  Windows are only one danger point. In an earthquake nearly every movable item could become a missile! For more ideas about improving the safety of your home, check out this recent Advisory: Secure Your Space.