As a New Englander I’m not exactly living in a seismic hotspot. Sure, we felt a slight tremor from a distant earthquake earlier in the summer, but I feel heavier vibrations when the garbage truck rumbles by.

Californians, on the other hand, live each day with the possibility of The Big One hitting without warning. And so it is no surprise that it was a Californian who came up with the Seismolatch, a device designed to keep cabinets closed during — and only during — an earthquake, preventing dishwater from cascading onto unprotected heads.

Unlike other cabinet safety latches — which must be engaged and disengaged with every entry into the cabinet — the Seismolatch only engages in the event of an earthquake. Otherwise it stays out of the way and keeps access to the kitchen cabinets as easy as it should be.

I have no personal use for the Seismolatch…for now. Who knows, though? I did read a piece about a strange fault line on the East Coast that runs from New York to Alabama and has many geologists scratching their heads. Could be some Seismolatches are in my future after all.