A natural disaster is a catastrophic event caused by intense rain, wind, fire and earthquakes. Although there isn’t much that can be done to prevent these events from happening, there are steps homeowners can take to ensure that their property is secure and that their family is safe throughout the disaster. Generally speaking, when it comes to home, most people envision a safe environment, which makes sense, right? Everyone wants their home to be safe.
But in order to create a safe environment within your living area, homeowners need to know how to prepare for emergencies. Natural disasters don’t just come and go; they’re tragedies that can affect the entire community long after the event itself is over. It’s not all bleak though, according to Wake Forest University natural disasters aren’t just responsible for tearing communities apart, they’re also responsible for providing communities with opportunities to heal as they deal with the aftermath.
Preparing Your Home for a Flood:
A flood is a disaster that can affect anyone, regardless of where they live. In fact, many people die in flash floods because they make bad decisions, either from stressing out and waiting until the last minute to take action or having no knowledge at all of how a flash flood operates. In the U.S., flash floods are the most common type of natural disaster, killing approximately 200 people annually. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. During a flash flood, homeowners should always seek higher ground and should never make an attempt to drive – or walk – through flood waters. This can cause your vehicle to get stuck and possibly be swept away.
There are also steps homeowners can take to protect their property before a disaster occurs. One way, in particular, you can protect your home from water damage is by sealing all the doors, and windows around the house with waterproof components. You should also have a pump as well as a backup generator to keep electrical components working.
Preparing for Earthquakes:
Arguably one of the scariest disasters of them all, an earthquake is a disaster that occurs when there’s a breakage or a shift in tectonic plates. The result is a release of energy that causes the ground to shake and, in some cases, it carries enough energy to knock down buildings, bridges, and homes. Generally speaking, most earthquakes in the U.S. occur on the West Coast; however, other states can still be affected by the violent shaking. Since earthquakes are unpredictable, making sure your home can withstand constant shaking is the key to success, no matter where you live.
Luckily, there are multiple ways you can prepare your home before an earthquake hits. Throughout your home, for instance, look for the heavier items that might fall over and come toppling down. Once you’ve located them, secure them to the floor or wall. This includes things like bookcases, televisions, water heaters, large appliances, and toolkits. It’s important to remove all breakable items as well – like glass and hard plastic – and put them lower to the ground. The last thing you’d want to do is run to safety and step on a pile of broken glass. Be sure also to get your home inspected for cracked foundations and faulty wiring. If an inspector does find something, don’t wait — get it fixed right away. Even more, if you live where earthquakes are common – like in California – consider bolting your house down to the foundation.
If you have small children, it’s important for you and your family to know what do in the event of an earthquake. For example, if the area you live in has been issued an earthquake warning, shut off all gas lines and electrical boxes and explain why you did so to your children.
Disaster Proofing Your Home for Wildfires:
On average, wildfires burn approximately 500 million acres each year, according to the National Geographic, and like most natural disasters, wildfire can happen anywhere and anytime. In fact, once a fire is started and matures, it spreads fast, covering hundreds of acres at a time destroying everything in its path – including wildlife, vegetation, and homes. Although wildfires typically start in forests, remote areas and mountains, they still manage to find their way near residential streets. With that being said, it’s important to homeowners to pay close attention to dry areas near their home – especially if you have careless neighbors since most wildfires are started by humans.
So if you live in an area that might be vulnerable to wildfires, take the necessary steps to protect you and your family. For instance, when building or buying a home for that matter, make sure the contractors used materials that aren’t flammable or burn easily. You should inspect the roof of your home during the dry season to make sure there are no dead branches or weak points. If you do decide to renovate your home make sure the wood being used is fire-resistant.
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You can also inspect around the perimeter of your home to prevent unnecessary damage from wildfires. Around the house, for example, make sure the lawn decoration and furniture are made out of fire-resistant material. It’s also a good idea to keep a garden hose long enough to reach around the whole house in case of an emergency.
If you find that the area you live in has been warned, close all doors and windows, turn off the gas line, soak your roof with water and evacuate the home immediately.
Preparing Your Home for A Hailstorm:
Hail is essentially frozen drops of rain that are normally found in storms until they are too heavy and fall to the ground. Don’t take these water droplets lightly. When these chunks of ice fall from the sky, they can gain momentum and dent vehicles stored outside and in rare cases, come crashing through the roof of homes. Hail typically falls in groups, which means one minute you might experience heavy rain, and the next thing you know you might see ice chunks falling from the sky.
Unfortunately, there’s little homeowners can do to prepare for this type of disaster since it all comes down to climate change – a subject with wide-reaching and heavily contested ramifications according to the University of Nevada, Reno. However, it’s recommended that if you live in an area prone to hail storms, you consider replacing your roof if it has any weak points. The same can be said for windows since hail can shatter them. So if you have single pane windows, upgrade to double. During a hail storm, keep your blinds down and don’t go outside; it’s hard to see how big those chunks of ice are when they’re falling at a rapid speed, anyway.
A last word
In the end, even if you believe a natural disaster won’t possibly strike near your loved ones, it’s always a good idea to keep an emergency kit nearby and make sure everyone in the family knows how to use it. That way, if there’s ever an emergency or disaster, you and your family know where all the supplies are ahead of time. For every natural disaster scenario, consider possible role-playing actions. Then after each scenario is over, sit down and talk as a family about them.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other ways homeowners can prep their home before a disaster strikes? Feel free to leave a comment below.
This article was written by Herman Davis for Prepper’s Will
Davis enjoys exploring the outdoors. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him at the gym or watching sports (Go, Broncos!).
Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241.