5 Steps to Preparing Your Home for a Disaster

There are parts of this wonderful country where natural disasters seem to be a part of life. The West Coast has earthquakes, the East and Gulf Coasts have hurricanes, and in the middle we get Tornado Alley.

There are other severe events that happen anywhere (like floods, hail, winter storms…), and given how unpredictable nature can be, it’s a good idea to take measures to reduce your risks, protect your home and keep your family safe. The following are some good steps to take to start the process:

Identify your risks

Knowing the most common hazards in your area — particularly if you’re new to the region — can help you focus your preparation plans. Take action against the event that has the highest odds of occurring and work from there. For example: if you live in an area prone to floods or high winds… take steps to handle those disasters. This is also a good time to check your insurance policies and confirm your coverage.

Address your home’s vulnerabilities

Homeowners often feel helpless against destructive weather. But there are storm-specific home improvement strategies that can lower the risk of your home being damaged. In the case of hurricanes, you can mount storm shutters, build a safe room or install hurricane straps to help keep your roof in place when fierce winds blow. In many instances, preparing against one threat can protect you from others as well.

Create an emergency kit

Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure you have emergency supplies. In general, a good emergency kit should include:

  • Water- one gallon per person per day, for at least three days.
  • Food- a three-day supply of non-perishables (and a can opener).
  • Battery-powered (or hand-crank) radio, with extra batteries.
  • Flashlight, with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Whistle, to signal for help.
  • Cellphone, with chargers (or a solar charger).
  • Cash, or traveler’s checks, and change.

Once this basic kit is in place, you should supplement your supplies with items that address any special needs (children, pets, medical concerns). You should also consider stocking an emergency “go bag” that you can quickly grab in the event of an evacuation.

Take inventory

Cataloging your property with a home inventory might sound tedious, but it makes sense. How easy would it be for you to recall all the contents of your home if you lost everything? Taking an inventory can ensure fail insurance reimbursement, simplify the recovery process and even make it easier to apply for federal aid.

Create – and practice – an emergency plan

Your emergency plan should be robust, addressing things like family communications (Where will you meet? How will you communicate?); escape route planning; and guidance on shutting off utilities such as water, electricity and natural gas (which is frequently responsible for fires following a disaster). You should practice the plan to notice any weak spots.

There have been many recent disasters, and this should awaken us to our own vulnerabilities. In a few steps you can protect yourself and lessen your risk.

Source/Information: Zillow Blog