10 Household Items that can be Dangerous in an Earthquake

During an earthquake things are falling all over and it is a major safety hazard. Most deaths in an earthquake occur by falling objects. To prevent this there are certain things to stay away from and certain things in the home that should be strapped down at all times.  Here is a list of the ten most dangerous household items in an earthquake.

Large furniture

Book cases, tall dressers, wardrobes, TV stands, and pantry cabinets all should be strapped to the wall using furniture wall straps. When an earthquake occurs there isn’t much time to avoid large falling furniture objects. It may fall and strike someone in the head which can kill them. A book case would bury a person so that they couldn’t get out to get help if they survived it.


Never keep pots and pans on a high shelf. During an earthquake they can fall and cause a severe head injury. Keeping them underneath the counter cabinets is best to avoid these incredibly heavy objects.

Glass objects

Plates, cups, bowls, vases, knick knacks, mirrors, and pictures can fall off of shelves and walls. In the kitchen the glass dishes should be stored in wooden cupboards with hooks or latches. Whenever you pull out a plate, close the cabinet and re-latch it so that you’re always prepared for a shake. Shelves should have a little trim around the edge to stop things from shaking off of it. Inexpensive hooks can be bought to keep mirrors and pictures bolted down to the wall.

Light fixtures

It is best to avoid light fixtures during an earthquake. They could come straight down on top of a person. Most light fixtures are in the center of the room, so moving away from the center could prevent serious injury.


Being in the garage during an earthquake is a very dangerous place to be. Everything from bicycles on a ceiling rack, to tool racks, to saws could cause major harm. If ever you feel an earthquake, even the smallest shake, it would be a good precaution in the garage to jump inside your vehicle putting your head down by the floor while using your arms to shield your head. As long as nothing crashes through the car window it is safer inside. The shocks from the car will take most of the vibration and allow for a quicker reaction time.

Standing fans/lamps

Standing fans and lamps will tip over in an earthquake. Finding a way to strap them down to the wall or floor could prevent this from happening. Always keep the safety cover on all your fans. Also keep the lamp shades on so the bulbs aren’t as likely to break when they fall. Strapping these items down can also prevent fire in an earthquake.


Knife blocks and racks can shake off the wall or counters spilling sharp knives across the floor. With some adhesive you can find a permanent home for your knives, sticking them to the counter top. During a quake this can prevent cuts and accidents from occurring.

Tall slender art/objects

Pottery, statues, vases, and other tall slender art related objects can be extremely heavy and metal items are very sharp. Sticking these down or tying them in a safe location will keep these hazards from being a problem.


Falling onto the ground during an extended shake is likely, especially for children and the elderly. If a person lands on glass, sharp objects, or hits their head it can be just as fatal as having something fall on top of their head.

Debris/collapsing structure

Number ten on this most dangerous list is the house itself. The best way to avoid all falling objects, including the roof and crumbling walls, is to stand under a door frame with your arms covering your head. Door frames hold a lot of weight and even after a building has fallen door frames can still be standing. Since most objects are not stored near doors this prevents objects from getting to you and the roof will fall around you but not on you.

Though fires, electrical, and gas leaks from broken appliances can occur during the end or the last stretch of the earthquake, your number one priority is to survive the earthquake itself before having to survive the aftershock and damage left behind. For more information visit the National Earthquake Information Center.