How to look for earthquake damage

Last updated 05:00 23/07/2013

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IMMEDIATELY AFTER A QUAKE:

First, make sure everyone is unhurt and safe. If your house or apartment building is damaged, get out immediately. Do not use elevators.

If you can smell gas or hear a hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out of the house, and turn off the gas if you can. If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box.

If water supply is affected, turn off your water at the toby to stop dirty water flowing back into your house. Then you can use water from your hot water cylinder if it is undamaged.

CHECK YOUR HOME FOR DAMAGE:

Things to look for include:

- The foundations have shifted.

- The ground level has changed.

- Cracks in chimneys or walls.

If you have any concerns about the structural integrity of your home get it checked by a structural engineer or qualified builder. If renting, contact your landlord as soon as possible.

If you need to make an insurance claim take photos and notes of any damage for your own records. This includes damage to belongings as well as property.

Prevent further damage to your house and belongings by quake-proofing your home (see graphic).

■ For more information and advice go to www.eqc.govt.nz or www.getthru.govt.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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