Kitchen Cabinets

Unsecured cabinet doors fly open during earthquakes, allowing glassware and dishes to crash to the floor. Many types of latches are available to prevent this: child-proof latches, hook and eye latches, or positive catch latches designed for boats. Gas appliances should have flexible connectors to reduce the risk of fire. Secure refrigerators and other major appliances to walls using earthquake appliance straps.

Kitchen cabinets

The ground swells and rolls of an earthquake can cause cabinet doors to fly open and contents to spill onto the floor. Glass jars and dishes can shatter and cause injuries and damage. Heavy objects can fly across the room, injuring any in their path or damaging counter tops, floors, or walls.

Securing kitchen cabinets

To prevent cabinet doors from flying open, install one of the following types of latches:

  1. Hook and eye – inexpensive; you may not close it every time
  2. Standard latch – mounts to the front of the door; you may not close it every time
  3. Pull/throwover – closes automatically; mounts to the front of the door
  4. Push latches – mounts inside the door; holds the door firmly shut; opens by being pushed gently inward
  5. Child-proof – inexpensive; closes automatically; requires an extra action when you open the door; takes some getting used to – must reach inside cabinet to release latch
  6. Seismolatch
A. Hook and eye latch
B. Standard latch


C. Pull/throwover latch
D. Push latch


E. Child-proof latch
F. Seismolatch

Securing cabinet contents

The contents of cabinets may shift and break in the movement of an earthquake. To help prevent this movement, line your cabinets with rubberized shelf mats. This typically is sold in rolls or pre-cut squares at hardware and variety stores. It is also available at recreational vehicle or boating equipment supply stores.To protect stacked china plates, place a square of this rubberized matting between each plate in the stack.