Preparing Your Home for a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters aren’t simply a distant concern -- they’re inevitable. Nearly all homes are in areas subject to various natural disasters, and these events come without warning. Rather than worry needlessly about when and how disaster will strike, start preparing your home for the worst before it happens.
Safeguarding your home from natural disaster is surprisingly straightforward. With a little forethought and some preparations, you’ll prepare your home and family for any and all catastrophes that come your way.
Brace for Anything
Informing yourself of the most likely disasters in your area can better direct your prevention efforts, but even anomalies occur in unexpected circumstances. From earthquakes and wildfires to hurricanes and blizzards, each crisis requires slightly different preparation methods.No matter what, make a basic plan for you and your family’s safety. A few things like strengthening windows, creating a safe room with a vault door or investing in a backup generator can go a long way in preparedness. Look into what disasters are most likely to occur in your part of the world, but do some research into what others may be possible.
Pack Your Bags
In the event of an emergency, you may have to evacuate your home very quickly. When that happens, the adrenaline rush may cloud your judgment and make it hard to think clearly when packing belongings to take with you. Do your future self a favor and put in the work now to ensure you and your family find higher ground or move to a safer place as soon as possible.
Pack go-bags for each member of your family that include at least three days’ worth of necessities. Include clothing, toiletries, important medications, charging cords, first aid kits, food, water, and battery powered flashlights. Keep these inside of your home in a safe and secure place, and be sure to replace batteries and food periodically to keep things fresh.
If you’re not subscribed to an emergency alert service, sign up right away. Both the Red Cross and FEMA have alert systems that provide notifications in the event of any emergency. As well, many school systems and employers provide local alerts to students and employees. Better still, these services are free.
For prompt, in-home notifications, many digital assistants have the option to declare emergency alerts aloud for the members of your home. When you have a “no phones at the dinner table” rule, these notifications can be lifesaving.
Stock the Storeroom
Sometimes, natural disasters will require you and your family to shelter in place. When this happens, it’s important you have everything you need to make it through until it’s safe to go outside. Without food, water and power, things could become dangerous in your home very quickly.
When stocking up on food, choose high-protein and shelf stable items to keep you and your family well-fed and healthy. Keep supplies of bottled water, soap, batteries, flashlights, extra medicines, condiments and spices. If anyone in your family has any important medical devices that may require power, make sure to have a backup generator or solar powered charging device on hand.
Make a Plan
When disaster strikes, it’s crucial that every member of your family knows what to do, where to go and how to handle the situation. Sit down with your family and create a plan of action for each possible scenario. Include maps, emergency contacts and designate meeting places in case of emergency.
Make sure your family knows what your home needs in every disaster situation, too. If the power goes out, send family members around the house to unplug appliances and electronics to prevent a potential surge when the power returns, and keep everyone informed on how to purify water, manually clear a toilet or use wash tubs if the water supplies become compromised. Set any home-protecting supplies aside and be certain everyone knows where to access them.
Reinforce Your Home
While most families consider a remodel an aesthetic improvement, there are stability benefits to upgrading the elements of your home. Storm-tough home components are designed to withstand powerful winds and elements, more effectively shielding you and your family from outdoor disasters. The cost upfront is a little higher than typical products, but the benefits provide much-needed peace of mind.
Clear a space indoors in the event you need to move furniture or other objects inside or into the garage. Install any storm-protection shutters, door jambs and prepare to brace doors and windows when things get sticky. While you’re at it, locate all power, gas and water shut off valves, and keep extra tools handy to perform those shutdowns as quickly as possible.
Have Supplies Handy
In addition to keeping your family fed, keep a few emergency supplies stocked so you can take care of your home, too. Things like duct tape, augers and rope to tie things down can prevent outdoor furniture or sheds from flying and wreaking havoc on your home. Keep a functional radio around in case cellular service goes out.
In severe storms with flood warnings, you’ll want to have plastic sheeting or foam insulation to prevent minimal damage from becoming very costly. If there is time to do so, you may want to elevate your furniture either by moving it upstairs or placing disposable material underneath it.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
Your four-legged friends are important members of the family, and in the event of a disaster, they can’t fend for themselves. Emergency shelters are not always accepting of animals, but some are. Take time today to locate pet-friendly shelters to keep all members of your family together in an emergency.
If you haven’t already, make sure your pets are licensed and microchipped. Extreme weather can cause pets to flee, and without a way to locate them, they could be lost forever. Keep photographs of your pets in your stockroom, and make sure they have plenty of food and water, too.
Protecting and securing your home to brace for a natural disaster is an important step to ensure your family stays as safe and cared for as possible in the event of an emergency. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and taking steps today to plan for the worst will save you time, money and potential hardship in the future.