Earthquakes: Bookcases and File Cabinets - Anchoring

Material provided by Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

During an earthquake, large pieces of furniture such as tall bookcases and file cabinets can fall on you or others. Toppled furniture can also block exits and prevent you from escaping. Anchoring furniture so that it remains upright not only helps prevent injuries but also helps protect both the furniture and its contents. Furniture can be anchored with metal “L” brackets and screws along its top or sides (either inside or outside) with screws through its back or with nylon strapping.

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy


Keep these points in mind when you anchor large pieces of furniture:

Estimated Costs

The cost of anchoring a bookcase or file cabinet will depend on the size (height and width) of the bookcase or file cabinet. In general, if you do the work yourself, you can expect the cost to be approximately $5 per bracket. For example, anchoring a 3-foot wide by 6-foot high bookcase will cost about $30 for six brackets. This amount covers only the hardware you will have to buy and excludes the cost of any tools you use and the value of your time. If you hire a contractor or handyman to do the work, you will have to pay for time as well as materials.

Technical Information Provided by FEMA