State Farm Advocates Earthquake Readiness

Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said April 18's predawn earthquake centered in southern Illinois "is a clear reminder that the Midwest faces the same risks as other earthquake prone areas of the country." The insurer, which offers earthquake coverage in every state except California, said taking precautions and reviewing your insurance coverage can help to reduce the risk.

Earthquake insurance is not part of a standard homeowner's policy but can be added as an endorsement to cover property and possessions. State Farm listed several tips to keep people and homes safe and be prepared for an earthquake:

* Strap water heater securely to wall.
* Some walls may require additional bracing -- check with your local building department, contractor, or architect for assistance.
* Use flexible connectors for gas supply to gas fueled appliances.
* Learn how to shut off all utilities.
* Have fire extinguishers strategically located on each floor.
* Make sure the chimney and roof are in good condition and well supported.
* Make sure mirrors, picture frames, hanging plants, and lamps are mounted securely.
* Keep beds away from glass or any hanging object that might fall.
* Brace tall furniture, bookcases and refrigerators, and attach to walls.
* Use sturdy latches on cabinet doors.
* Be sure your house is bolted to the foundation.
* Establish an emergency meeting place should your family get separated.

The company recommends maintaining an earthquake survival kit with first-aid items, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, and extra clothes.

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