Earthquake Proof Food Storage Rooms

BBC: Grocery store after 7.7 earthquake in Chile

We won’t be able to save everything, but here are a few ideas I’ve gathered to help keep our food storage items safe. The changes are simple, logical and inexpensive. You’ve just set up your food storage room, but did you think to make it earthquake safe? Let me say immediately that my room is not finished, but I have done some research to help me know what I should change. And I know what earthquakes feel like and I don’t want my food ruined after all the work and money I’ve spent to gather it. But first, watch this soundless video that was taken with surveylance cameras in a grocery store during the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. Could this happen to your food storage room?

Here are some ideas that might help:

There are many types of shelves, but whatever you end up with should be braced to a wall stud, floor, or other shelves. If you have cinder block walls, you can find the right bolts at a hardware store, but be careful not to crack the cinder block. Get some L-brackets and screws to attach your shelves. If you don’t attach the shelves, the entire shelf unit could fall over in an earthquake and block entry to your room as well as damage your items.


During an earthquake, cans and bottles will fall off shelves. I always cringe when I see pictures of peach jars perched atop food storage shelves; peaches that took hours to make, but will take seconds to break. Here are some ideas on how to secure you cans and bottles from Frugal Fraline.
a. Drill a hole through sides of shelving and thread webbing, wire, rope through holes and secure.
b. Attach clips to plasticized wire and clip to eye bolts.
c. Dowels can be attached to wooden shelves.
d. Hook bungee cords to eye bolts.
e. Install baby locks on cabinets.
f. Line shelves with rubberized no slip liner.

Another idea is to attach strips of wood to the front of wood shelves.

Grocery Store after Jan. 9, 2010 6.5 earthquake in Eureka, Calif. China Post Newspaper

If you stack boxes of items or mason jars, make sure they are held in place with bungee cords or cording. Try not to stack plastic 5 gallon buckets more than 3 high as the weight can ruin the seal. And the tower that topples will not be a pleasant experience as well.

If you have food items behind cabinet doors, attach child safety latches to the cupboard doors. I know few people who like putting latches on their cabinet doors, but have you ever ridden in a motorhome and had something fall on your head from an overhead cabinet? It doesn’t feel very nice. I want to add latches to my highest kitchen cupboards where lots of glass is stored.

If you have other ideas, please share them.

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