Hanging Objects

Mirrors, framed pictures, and other objects should be hung from closed hooks so that they can't bounce off the walls. Pictures and mirrors can also be secured at their corners with earthquake putty. Only soft art such as tapestries should be placed over beds or sofas.

Framed pictures — securing them helps prevent cut feet

The ground swells and rolls of major earthquakes easily can knock heavy pictures and mirrors off the walls. This can be especially dangerous in the night if these unsecured items are located close to your bed, or during the day if they are located close to your favorite chair or sofa.

Cut feet from broken framing glass and mirrors is one of the most common injuries resulting from major earthquakes. Securing your pictures helps prevent this common injury.

Securing artwork, pictures, and mirrors

  • Use a stud finder to find the closest wall stud.
  • Screw a screw hook (or a commercially available earthquake picture hanger) into the wall stud so that there is barely enough room to slide the framing wire between the wall and the hook. This will help prevent the wire from jumping off the hook during the potentially violent movement of an earthquake.
  • If the artwork or mirror is large and / or heavy, you may want to consider securing it to two wall studs.
  • Secure the bottom corners of these items with Quake-Hold™-type products to keep them from banging against the wall. This helps keep the framing glass from breaking and damaging the artwork or photo.


Larger imagepicture hanging hooks that actually close are also a good choice for securing pictures

Source: SPAN Disaster Services Inc.

Larger imagescrew hook into wall, leaving just enough space to slide the wire onto the hook; secure bottom corners with Quake-Hold™ or similar product

Source: SPAN Disaster Services Inc.


Larger imageExample of a stud finder

Source: SPAN Disaster Services Inc.

Securing objects hung from ceilings

Carefully check the location of all hanging plants and other objects. Determine if these objects are close enough to windows to strike them in the wild motion of an earthquake. If they are, consider moving them.

  • Find the ceiling stud by using a stud finder.
  • Screw the hook directly into the ceiling stud.
  • Hang the object from this hook.
  • Close the opening in the hook with a pair of pliers to prevent the object from leaping off the hook during an earthquake.
©2017 SCEC Southern California Earthquake Center @ USC