The short answer is yes. Even minor earthquakes can expose a home's weak spots and cause damage. One of the reasons for this is that homes in areas that do not see major seismic activity do not have as strict building codes regarding earthquake preparedness, so even small tremors have the potential to cause damage to a building. It is a good idea, then, to look at your home and address any areas that may be vulnerable. To help give you some idea of what these areas are, here are a few of them:
Foundations. Have a check for signs of deterioration like cracks or crumbling cement. A problem like this could be made a lot worse with just a small amount of ground movement.
The chimney. This is a part of the home that is particularly vulnerable to damage and can become unstable and dangerous in the event of a minor earthquake. If you have a masonry chimney that is not reinforced, you may want to consider securing it with angle bracing and sheet metal straps.
The water heater or other large free-standing appliances are also at risk of damage during an earth tremor. They can also be secured with metal straps.
Another danger that commonly occurs in an earthquake is gas leaks. If you have appliances that use natural gas, make sure they are secured either to the wall or the floor. Clearly label the manual gas shutoff valve and ensure that it is easy to access in the event of a gas leak.
While we have only noted a few of the home's potential weak spots during a minor earthquake, it's clear to see the need to periodically check your home for areas that may be unsafe.