When someone says the word earthquake, the truth is, Alaska is certainly not the first place that comes to mind. Since 1990, Alaska has averaged several earthquakes per year and, in fact, is one of the most seismically active areas in the world!
According to the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, Alaska experiences:
- One earthquake of magnitude 7 or 8 every year
- Six magnitude 6 or 7 earthquakes every year
- Forty-five magnitude 5 or 6 earthquakes every year
- Three hundred and twenty magnitude 5 or less every year
Alaska experiences, on average, one thousand earthquakes each month! The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates if the current infrastructure remains as it is in Alaska, the state will have the second-highest average annualized earthquake loss ratio in the country. Since another earthquake is quite likely here in Alaska, we have compiled a list of places in your home to look to determine if you have experienced earthquake damage. If you notice damage or potential damage, it is vital to get the damage repaired before it puts your safety at risk.
Check your external house structure:
Take a walk around your home and check to see if anything is visibly collapsed or has sustained damage. Of vital importance is your home’s foundation. Check the visible portions of your foundation for cracks, broken segments, or places where your home may have shifted on the foundation. Finally, look for sinkholes or large divots in the ground near the foundation.
Your foundation is one of the keys to your home’s stability and safety. The shaking motion of an earthquake can easily compromise that stability. If your foundation has sustained damage or cracking that means, there is potential for water to enter your home or for other damage to occur.
If you have a deck or porch, check the stability and integrity of the structure and supports. The shaking of the ground during an earthquake could cause upright supports to become loose or tilted. They could also crack or break, making them unstable and dangerous. The walking surface of the deck is also subject to damage. Often, decks and porches protrude a considerable distance from the walls of your home. Earthquake shaking can cause torsion and flexing of these structures, which could make them unstable and unsafe for use. It is suggested you have a licensed handyman service such as Be Happy Property Services take a look at your decks and porches after an earthquake. A professional service may be able to see small cracks and hard to see the damage that can quickly grow into something much more dangerous.
Check your chimney:
Earthquakes cause the ground to shake. Unfortunately, this shaking does not happen all in one direction. Truthfully, if it did, the damage experienced by buildings would likely be less substantial. The shaking brought about by an earthquake is more of a rolling motion, and stiff, concrete structures such as foundations, driveways, and chimneys don’t always react well to this type of movement. It is suggested you hire a licensed handyman or contractor to check your chimney. Have that person check your liner and the exterior of your chimney for cracking or damage. Cracks in your chimney liner can cause a variety of problems, including chimney fires or carbon monoxide entering your home.
Check the inside of your home:
Start with your windows and doors and see if everything opens and closes properly. Check your roof as well as the areas around your door and window seals for leaks due to damaged seals or missing roof pieces. Look for cracks on your interior walls, which could be a sign of structural damage. If damage such as this is not addressed, it can allow water to enter your home, causing further issues such as rot and mold.
Check your plumbing and utilities:
There are certain parts of your home that can experience damage you may not immediately notice. When the ground shakes during an earthquake, it can damage underground pipes that supply water to your home. It can also damage the pipes and systems that take sewage out of your home, causing leaks both inside and outside. Sadly, the damage doesn’t always take place outside. Plumbing and other utility systems within your home can experience damage as well. Look for cracked, broken or leaking pipes under the cabinets or in your basement. If you discover water, be sure to turn your water off immediately, if possible. Water damage can happen very quickly and can lead to additional structural damage down the road.
Look for exterior debris:
Check the exterior of your property of debris that does not belong. Look for large tree limbs that could blow around and cause window damage. Check around your home for other debris such as rocks, shingles, bricks, or other items that may have shaken loose during the earthquake and fallen to the ground. These items may not be an immediate hazard, but if there is a strong wind, a branch could go through a window or damage power lines. Heavier debris such as bricks and the like can cause damage to vehicles if they run them over or simply provide challenges to your landscaping efforts during spring cleaning.
How can Be Happy help if you found damage:
If you found damage to your home that needs to be fixed, it is important to make sure the job is done right. If your repairs are subpar, your home could be at further risk of catastrophic damage during the next weather event or next earthquake. But, as important as the repairs are to get done, don’t hire the first name you see when you open the phone book.
It is vital to do your research. Did you know that contractors and other professional services who perform their work in the Anchorage area are required to have a license from both the state of Alaska and the municipality? Did you know they are also required to be bonded and insured and are required to be licensed for the work they plan to perform? This means that just because a professional service has a roofer license, it does not mean they are licensed (or allowed) to perform work on your plumbing or HVAC systems.
While you are researching your prospective handyman service in the Anchorage Alaska area, it is important to make sure the service you choose meets all of these requirements. When you are looking for a handyman or contractor service, look to a reputable company such as Be Happy Property Services. Our many years of combined experience covers everything from contracting services to handyman services in the Anchorage Alaska area. We can help you clean up the exterior of your home after an earthquake and help you take a look at the structure of your home (inside and out) to make sure there isn’t any hidden damage that could become a significant problem without warning.
Don’t settle for just any handyman or contractor services. Be sure to choose a service that stands behind its work and reputation for quality. If you are looking for an affordable, reliable, locally owned, and operated service to help you recover your home after an earthquake, contact your friendly Be Happy Property Services handymen team.
Our Service Areas:
Anchorage, Alaska Construction and Handyman Services
Eagle River, Alaska Construction and Handyman Services
Wasilla, Alaska Construction and Handyman Services
Palmer, Alaska Construction and Handyman Services