Letter Re: Your Earthquake Audit

Mr. Rawles:
The recent article about conducting a home earthquake audit reminds me of a preparedness step that I took: A little over a year ago I saw an automatic gas shutoff valve displayed at a professional plumbing store. After looking in the cutaway demonstration  valve , I inquired about the cost of the valve, which was around $100. I have kept a wrench next to the gas meter for years, but last year I had to commute 60  miles  away for school. Now with a new prepper mentality  , I wondered what would happen if a big quake did happen while I was gone. If it took me a week to get home,  only to find a home burned to the ground because of a broken gas pipe, I would be mad, and feel stupid for not protecting everything for  a paltry $100 valve.

I installed the valve and forgot about it, but  then it had an unexpected test just one week later. I was also having a very large tree removed (one that could crush half of the house). My mother and I were eating lunch when we heard and felt a large thud, as the tree trimmers felled the last portion of the tree trunk, which was about 12 feet tall. Not until the next day, when the hot water became very cool, did I realize the valve had in fact worked and automatically shut off the gas to the house. I would rather spend $100  now, than to lose everything and be covered by the world’s best insurance policy. For those people that don’t think they are in earthquake territory, I only need to remind you of the magnitude 5.8 quake  that hit Virginia last year, and the fact that 75% of quake related fires are caused by  unsecured and top heavy gas water heaters falling over and breaking the gas pipe.

Thanks again for getting the word out,  – Solar Guy