Earthquake-Proofing Your Living Room Shelves

Securing living room shelves can save your life if and when a major earthquake hits your area. Fastening big furniture such as shelves and cabinets to walls will prevent them from toppling over or becoming obstructions that can block your escape passages. Moreover, bracing large shelves onto walls will keep the objects inside them from falling out and causing physical injuries.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Shelf doors
  • Shelf locking systems
  • Safety latches
  • Steel harnesses
  • Steel link braces
  • Furniture braces or L brackets
  • Non-drying shelf adhesives

Step 1 – Install Shelf Doors and Locking Mechanisms

If you live in an area that is frequented by earthquakes, you should have doors for your shelves. There are sliding shelf doors that can allow you easy access to the shelves while ensuring that the objects inside them will not fall out should an earthquake happen.

Aside from shelf doors, you must also install locking systems to all your shelves. If the shelves contain heavy objects such as books or a collection of bronze statues, the shelf doors can easy give way and fail to contain the things inside the shelves. But with proper locking mechanisms, the shelf doors will have additional support to hold heavy contents. For small shelves with lightweight objects on them, ordinary safety latches should work just fine.

Step 2 – Fasten Big Living Room Shelves to the Wall

Unhitched shelves and other furniture can tumble down and get in your way as you scramble to exit or find a safer spot in your home or building. So, it is vital that you fasten or bolt your shelves to the wall. For smaller shelves that contain light objects, ordinary bolts and braces are perfect for the job.

But to put big shelves in place, it is more advisable to use specially designed steel harnesses rather than rigid braces or L brackets. Harnesses or tie-downs provide allowance for the shelves to move during the earthquake, thus preventing too much stress that can cause furniture to shatter or break apart. This type of harness will be hooked up to link braces which, in turn, will be attached to both the walls and the shelves.

Step 3 – Rearrange the Contents of Your Shelves

After securing all your living room shelves, you need to rearrange the things that you put inside them such that the heaviest and most breakable of all the objects are placed on the lower racks or shelves. Doing so will ensure that the most lethal items will not be flying around or falling out of the shelves during an earthquake. Also, make it a point to store chinaware, wines and liquor, and other materials made of glass in shelves that have doors and locks.

Step 4 – Stick Valuable and Fragile Objects to the Shelf Surface

If you want, you can also use special adhesives to secure all valuable and delicate contents of your shelves. This type of adhesive is non-drying and can be cut according to your preferred sizes and shapes. More importantly, it can be used over a number of times, so you can easily take out the objects anytime and put them back securely in place.