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Emergency Preparedness Tips for Landlords

November 12, 2019

A living room that has suffered earthquake damage

There's always the possibility that a severe storm or other natural disaster could affect us here in the Pacific Northwest. Should a major event occur, like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, experts predict it could take months to get public services fully up and running.

A well-thought-out emergency preparedness plan can help protect your property investment and ensure the safety and well-being of your tenants.

Here are a few steps you can take:

Educate your tenants

In an emergency, you may not be able to reach your property or tenants. Provide some helpful information in advance, such as:

Make an emergency kit

Since electricity and water could be unavailable for an extended period, EWEB encourages our customers to be prepared to be on their own for a minimum of two weeks. That means storing 14 days of water, food, medicine and other supplies. For a family of four, that's 56 gallons of water.

Encourage your tenants to make their own emergency kit, or help them get started with some basics, such as:

  • Bottled water
  • Ready-to-eat food
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency radio

Secure the property

Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. Make sure there is a fire extinguisher on-site and that your tenants know how to use it.

Secure the water heater, refrigerator, and other major appliances with the appropriate straps screwed into the wall studs or masonry to help keep them from falling over, injuring residents or rupturing gas or electric connections.

You might seek professional help to assess the building's structure and then take steps to install solutions such as foundation bolting, cripple wall bracing, and reinforced chimneys. If you own a mobile home, consider installing an earthquake-resistant bracing system. These measures can help reduce major damage to the building.

Helpful resources

EWEB's Emergency Preparedness website: Tips help you prepare, and stay safe, in the event of an emergency.

EWEB's Pledge to Prepare: A 12-month guide to getting 2-weeks ready.

FEMA Guide: "How to Prepare for an Earthquake."