Secure the tops of all top-heavy furniture, such as bookcases and file cabinets, to a wall. Be sure to anchor to the stud, and not just to the drywall. Flexible fasteners such as nylon straps allow tall objects to sway without falling over, reducing the strain on the studs. Loose shelving can also be secured by applying earthquake putty on each corner bracket.

Securing bookcases and all things tall

Tall pieces of furniture, such as bookcases, china hutches, and armoires are very likely to fall when the ground is rolling and shaking. You can prevent them from falling on someone you care about, and save their contents, by completing these simple steps:

    1. Secure the furniture item to the wall stud.
      • Locate the wall studs using a stud finder
      • Secure each furniture piece to at least two wall studs, depending on size and weight, using commercially available kits utilizing nylon strapping that bolt to the wall at one end and have adhesive pads that stick to the furniture (and have velcro or buckle fasteners). These can be attached out of view, behind or above the furniture.
      • NOTE: We advise against using metal “L” brackets that screw into both the wall stud and the furniture, as in strong shaking these do not allow any flexibility (which can break the metal where it bends, or damage furniture).
    1. Place heavy and/or large items on lower shelves to prevent them from flying around the room in an earthquake.
    2. The ground swells and rolls of an earthquake can cause anything resting on shelf or counter tops to fall – see TVs, computers, and electronics to learn how to secure these items. For more delicate items like china, crystal or pottery – consult our page about objects on open shelves or table tops.

Tall furniture should be attached to wall studs to avoid toppling in an earthquake.