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Every year, the U.S. experiences 20,000 earthquakes - more than 50 per day. They are not just a California or Alaska phenomenon, either. U.S. Geological Survey data shows that 42 states are at risk from earthquakes. Most quakes are minor. However, standard Homeowners and Commercial Property insurance policies do not cover quake damage. Policies that do cover it carry large deductibles. Therefore, everyone should take a few steps to protect their property from earthquakes. Recommended steps include:

Tie down electronic equipment. Computers, TV's, stereos and gaming systems can be ruined and injure people if they tumble off a table. Restrain them with bungee cords, adhesive-backed brackets, Velcro, or other materials that can hold them still.

Anchor large equipment. Manufacturing machines and other large devices are often installed on spring-loaded platforms. However, the springs may fail during an earthquake. Attaching them directly to the floor will help keep them from moving when tremors hit.

Support cripple walls. A cripple wall is a short wall that sits on the foundation and supports the floor and exterior walls. Without proper bracing, it can move during an earthquake. This may cause floors and exterior walls to buckle. Inserting small horizontal blocks between vertical studs, and adding more studs, will better support cripple walls.

Securely mount mirrors and picture frames. Framed pictures and mirrors attached to walls can go flying during an earthquake. If the moving objects do not injure occupants, the resulting broken glass might. Use open eye-hooks with long shanks that penetrate to the wood, rather than short picture hangers.

Connect sill plates to foundations. A sill plate rests on top of the foundation. If unanchored, it can move during an earthquake, destabilizing the walls on top of it, and causing extensive damage and injuries. Bolting the sill plate to the foundation makes movement less likely.

Anchor bookcases and file cabinets. Tall pieces of furniture such as these can tip over and cause injuries during an earthquake. They can also block exits. Attach them to walls using L-shaped brackets, screws and bolts.

Use flexible connection pipes on gas and water lines. An earthquake can tear rigid connections from their connection points. Installing flexible connections between furnaces, hot water heaters, and other appliances and their supply lines can prevent fires and explosions that could result.

Securely tie down and brace propane tanks and gas cylinders. A quake can cause a tank to break free of its supporting legs or cause a gas cylinder to tip and roll. Explosions and fires can result. Anchoring the legs to a concrete pad, attaching braces to the legs, and using flexible supply line connections make this less likely.

Install latches on desk drawers and cabinet doors. Drawers and doors can fly open during a quake, spilling their contents all over. Not only can this damage floors and the contained property, but it can also strike people nearby. To prevent this, install secure latches on drawers and doors and make sure they are closed when not in use.

Earthquakes are upsetting and damaging, but they do not have to be disastrous. Taking these steps will help prevent the worst from happening.