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Another Major Earthquake in Chile – A Disaster Preparedness Lesson 7 tips to help you

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Again in Chile on March 11th. a 7.2 earthquake is truly a nightmare experience for those unfortunate people. Once more, we are reminded about the awful effect and cost of human life, livelihoods and resources that are a result of an earthquake.

Add to those tears of personal loss the heartbreak of further damage to public and holy buildings full of memories, faith and art. There is a lot of damage to deal with during trying economic times.

Of course, the devastation is widespread. But, there are many, many homes in the area that were only badly rattled. That’s the case, also, in a hurricane, tornado or even a bad storm; a focused area gets the brunt of the impact and the vast outlying areas “just” get shook up. So, actually, there are huge numbers of people that were not physically at risk, but they may have lost and had damaged many cherished family treasures.

But there are ways to be prepared and benefit even if you were to be at the epicenter of such devastation.

Disaster preparedness for your personal items includes knowing how to protect your genealogy, heirlooms, photographs, letters, old books, art work and important documents. Set priorities and protect, first, your most important items. Here are 7 tips to help you be better prepared:

  1. Use an anchor wax to secure items that can fly off shelves and rattle around in display cases. (Home Depot) This is a VERY good tip!

  1. Keep photos in archival photo albums that are easy to grab and go. Keep them in a book case or storage box that is easy to get to.

  1. Keep storage boxes away from water pipes (water heaters too) that could break and flood on your treasured items (causing water and mold damage).

  1. Make sure hanging hooks AND wires are strong, oversized and well anchored into the wood. I can’t tell you how many paintings and frames I’ve repaired that fall off the wall onto a corner of a table or through a vase. Or what about that heavy item hanging over your head in bed!!?? Use the anchor wax mentioned in #1 to hold the artwork to the wall (two balls in lower corners will keep it from “jumping off the hanging hook”).

  1. Photograph treasured keepsakes and copy important documents; keep a copy in another location (another city or state!). Be prepared for an insurance claim with proper documentation.

  1. You may need supplemental insurance for earthquakes. Make sure your homeowner’s policy covers your contents. Heirlooms should not require a Fine Arts rider but should fall under your regular home owner’s policy. You will still need photos and values for a claim (go to

  1. Get a copy of “How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster” ( If you need to discuss your needs, call the author, Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438 or e-mail at


There is much you can do to protect and save your treasured personal possessions

Even in the event of total devastation #’s 5 and 6 will save your memories and get you back on your feet MUCH sooner. If you are a business owner, these steps may be the difference between reopening after the disaster. Did you know that 25% of the business involved in a disaster never reopen? And 25% of those that do reopen, close within a year.

These steps may save your business and livelihood.

For a copy of “How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster” click now, on

The author, Scott M. Haskins, has worked in both Italy and the U.S. as a professional conservator for the last 35 years. While in Italy, he was the personal conservator for the Montini Family Collection, Pope Paul VI. He routinely treats and saves items damaged in earthquakes. He has been personally involved in nine “major” California disasters and has consulted with people throughout the US and Italy on numerous other “events”. He works with the general public, historical societies, museums, corporations, private collectors, art galleries, state governments and the federal government. He also wrote a booklet on earthquake response of which 500,000 were distributed in LA after the Northridge Earthquake by the Bank of America Corp. human resource department.

13 Responses to "Another Major Earthquake in Chile – A Disaster Preparedness Lesson 7 tips to help you"
  1. Anonymous says:

    This is great information for those of us who are interested in emergency preparation items. I know your expertise is personal possessions and family history stuff butI would like to ask you: Do you have any information about what’s the most efficient way you’ve found to keep food storage safe from humidity?

    • Scott says:

      I think you are right: our interests do cross over for families and people who want to be prepared. Feel free to refer people, or link to, our site and I’ll leave your link active on this post for people to follow. About your question: as you know, the qualities of the containers for food storage are very important in protecting against humidity as they are for storing documents or books etc. Humidity can be minimized by, first, understanding the problem of why you have high humidity. If it’s due to poor building quality and high RH (weather) then a dehumidifier is probably required. If the high RH is due to leaky pipes or ground infiltrations or poor functioning air condition, then the source of the humidity needs to be corrected and a dehumidifier will help until you get the problem under control.

  2. Sam Aryaan says:

    This is great information for those of us who are interested in emergency preparation items.

  3. Aron Mason says:

    This articles helps me more.Thanks for your sharing,I will pay more attentions to your blog. See you next time.

  4. I’m in the clean up business. This kind of calamity is unpredictable. We can never know when the nature will mess up. Being prepared can keep us away or even save our lives when an emergency arrives. Your tips are valuable and really helpful.

  5. Barry Gribson says:

    I am grateful for such helpful and important information. Thnaks guys for sharing.

  6. Barry Gribson says:

    You know, I like your post and all this site in general! Thanks a lot for informativeness.

  7. Jordan says:

    Let us all help each other to spread the word of safety precaution. Most people nowadays are too complacent that they are not prepared for any disaster that would strike our path. Let us all be prepared! Keep safe everyone!

  8. Johnson Wood says:

    If you live in an earthquake prone area it’s a good idea to have earthquake insurance. In addition I hadn’t thought about those other tips like using the wax to keep things in place. Very helpful thanks.

  9. Gary Stein says:

    I love the anchor wax tip! That is a really good takeaway, especially if you live in an earthquake-central zone.

  10. Simon says:

    Flooding can cause just as much damage to valuables. It may seem simplistic but just keeping valuable items in an upstairs room can be enough to prevent water damage.

  11. We should make the most of what we have whilst we have it. Cause that could happen to our homes.

  12. Natural disaster are beyond our control and is inevitable in some regions across the globe due to their geographical location. The least we could do is try our best to salvage whatever is possible like food products and precious memorabilia. For our household, we have a food storage which consists of mainly tin cans and dry ingredients stored in waterproof tubs to keep the moisture and mould out. The same storage method is used for our photo albums, emergency clothing and so on.

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