Step 6. Make your home safer in an earthquakemake your home safer

Making your home safer will reduce the damage during an earthquake and allow you to stay in your home, even if it is a bit messed up.

There are some easy ways to make your property more resilient. If you are unable to do this yourself, get someone to help you.

Use the following checklist as a starter to make your home safe:

1. Below the house

Check your foundations:

  • Has there been any excavation around the piles?Check your foundations
  • Secure the bearers to the piles.
  • Replace any rotten timber.

2. Inside the house

  • Secure hot water cylinders, free-standing wood burners and heavy or tall furniture.
  • Are there any unreinforced masonry walls that need extra support?
  • Have any walls been removed? This can weaken the integrity of the building.Secure furniture

3. Ceiling to roof

  • Secure water header tanks
  • Check heavy roofing tiles are tied in place and/or consider replacing with lighter-weight metal roofing.
  • Check brick chimneys are properly secured, and if not in use, consider removal.
  • Are the rafters and struts in your roof in good condition? Does it look like any have been removed?Check your chimney

If you need help, get a professional builder in to check your home.

If you are renting

It’s in your landlord’s best interests if your home is still liveable after an earthquake, so talk with them about making your home safer - discuss the key points on the checklist above.

DIY caution 

When doing your own alterations, or if you have any concerns about your property, get advice from a professional Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) – builder, architect or designer. If you have any questions about the structural integrity of your home, get a builder to check it out.


Make your home safer - EQC's information and advice

Will your home be safe in a natural disaster? We can't predict natural disasters, but we can prepare for them. One of the best places to start is with your home. Whether you own your home, rent a property or are thinking of buying, find out what you can do to make your home safer for you, your family or flatmates.

Visit EQC’s website for more information on making your home safer (


Translated resources - EQC's 'Easy ways to quake safe your home' 

View and download EQC's 'Easy ways to quake safe your home' in multiple languages (  


Go to Step 7: Store emergency water

Emergency water

Emergency water is the single best thing that you can store to be more prepared for a major earthquake.

The Wellington Region's water supply network crosses earthquake fault lines in multiple places. During a major earthquake, the ground movement is likely to cause severe damage to our water pipes. After an earthquake, it's likely that water isn’t going to come out of the tap.

Go to Step 7 to read about storing emergency water for your household


Attend a household earthquake planning sessionFind out more at a Household Earthquake Planning session

Attend a free one-hour session to get tips on how you, your household and whānau can stay safe and get through.

The session covers:

  • What could happen to your area in an earthquake
  • How to stay safe
  • Key points for your emergency plan
  • Essential emergency supplies
  • How neighbours can help each other

Attend a Household Earthquake Planning Session