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Is your home earthquake-ready? How to prepare for the Big One

It has been so long since Los Angeles suffered a major earthquake -- the magnitude 6.7 Northridge quake was 20 years ago in January -- that it's been easy to put disaster preparedness on a back burner.

The 6.1 quake centered near Napa, Calif., in August 2014 followed a March wake-up call in Southern California when a 5.1 jolt shook the region. Both are strong reminders that earthquakes are not an "if" but a "when" in California.

Luckily, there are things you can do to help protect your home and family. Many are easy DIY projects -- relocate heavy mirrors and wall hangings away from sleeping areas, install latches on cupboards where glass and ceramics are stored, anchor valuable keepsakes with adhesive or putty. Some you might want to hire a professional to do for you.

The chart below shows points in your home that may be vulnerable in a quake and how to fix them. Also included is a chart of what to store in your earthquake survival kits.


Aug. 24, 10:21 a.m.: This story was updated with news of the magnitude 6.1 earthquake centered near Napa, Calif.

The first version of this story was published on March 17.

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