Earthquake Preparedness: How to Secure Kitchen Cabinets
Unsecured kitchen cabinets create a serious hazard during an earthquake. If not properly secured, the doors may fly open sending dishes and glass flying and crashing. Cabinets are very easy to secure; a variety of different materials that can be used to hold the objects inside cabinets in place.
Securing a kitchen cabinet requires a basic knowledge of do-it-yourself skills and can easily be done by following a logical sequence of steps.
Step 1: Find the Cabinets
Walk around the kitchen and make a note of how many kitchen cabinets there are. One child-proof latch will be needed for each cabinet. Make sure the cabinets are all easily accessible and make sure there are no hazards closely around them.
Step 2: Secure Cabinet Contents
An severe earthquake can cause objects to smash inside secured cabinets, allowing small pieces of glass to escape through small gaps and cracks. Line each cabinet with rubberised mat. This can be bought cheaply and is often sold in rolls. The texture of the mat will create friction on the objects meaning they will not slide about violently. Place a piece of mat between plates, bowls and any thing else that may be stacked.
Step 3: Secure the Latches
Take the child-proof latch and secure the smaller plastic piece just inside the cabinet at the front. This can be done using the screw driver and two small screws. Secure the larger plastic piece to the inside of the door. Once secured, make sure the ridge on the end of the larger piece catches the smaller piece so that the door will not open. Repeat this process for every cabinet.
Step 4: Secure Handles
Some kitchen cabinets in the kitchen may be doubled doored. Once a latch has been fitted inside, use a small piece of wire to thread through the handles on the outside and wrap round. This will give kitchen cabinets with double doors a bit more rigidity and will ensure that they do not fly open. Alternatively, attach one latch for each door on a double cabinet.
Step 5: Double Check
Walk around the kitchen and make sure that all of the child-proof latches are fitted correctly. The cabinets should not open unless you physically have to alter the latches. If any of the cabinets are not fastened securely, unscrew them and start again. Make sure there are no large gaps when you try to open the cabinets. Once all cabinets are secure they are safe against earthquakes, tsunamis and a number of other dangerous natural disasters.
Cabinets themselves are often liable to shake to the ground during earthquakes, damaging the contents within and the outer surface of the cabinet itself. This can be avoided by using wall-grabbing studs to secure cabinets to walls. These expand outwards to provide a firm grip if the cabinet moves during an earthquake.