Northern Vancouver sits right on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, also referred to as the Cascadia Fault. The Juan de Fuca Plate and the North American Plate meet at this point just off the coast of Vancouver Island. Experts say that the city may be in danger of a mega-quake, notwithstanding its relatively safe history of major earthquakes happening only once every 500 years.

Water and gas pipes may be the first ones to get hit by the tremors, disrupting the flow of water in homes and causing fires. While it's anyone's guess when the next earthquake will be, Richmond plumbing firms suggest that you prepare for it. There's no telling whether or not the plates may decide to break the habit of one earthquake every 500 years.

Earthquake strapping

If you use a tank-type water heater, it's important that you secure the tank to keep it from falling and rupturing gas and water lines. A number of cities and towns have made it compulsory for homes and offices to secure their tanks with earthquake strapping. The straps are bolted to the walls to act as a restraint for the water heater.

The straps are attached at the front and rear of the water heater and usually go in pairs for maximum restraint capacity. The best place for your heater to be is in the corner and close to the wall for the straps to be easily placed. The straps are also called plumber's tape.

Earthquake shut-off valve

When gas lines rupture as a result of the tremor, it could set off an explosion that could destroy or damage multiple houses and buildings. In light of this, Vancouver plumbing services advise installing an earthquake shut-off valve for the gas lines. This will prevent the gas from leaking into the house and can consequently avert a catastrophe.

Like most shut-off valves, the earthquake shut-off valve can be operated manually to block the flow of gas during an earthquake. It should only be activated the moment you smell gas inside the house or hear the hissing of gas leaking out of a broken pipe. You may need a wrench for the shutoff procedure.

Seismic expansion joints

Most earthquake-proof buildings survive the tremor with little to no damage by moving with the tremor. Seismic expansion joints allow pipes to do the same thing to minimize the damage of the tremor to the pipes.

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