By: H. Davis
A natural disaster is a devastating event – caused by wildfires, rain, hurricanes, and earthquakes – that endangers not only lives of residents but property as well. Although there isn’t much that can be done to stop these events from occurring, there are steps homeowners can take to help reduce the overall effect these disasters can have on both their families and their property. When it comes to our home – a place we typically view as safe, secure, and treasured — it’s important for homeowners to know how to protect it. Not only will this help you save money from excessive damage, but it might also save the lives of your loved ones as well.
No matter where your home is located, you should always keep the threat of a natural disaster in the back of your mind. After all, these events can strike without any warning and tear a house down in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, the following will provide both advice and resources on ways to secure your home against the dangers of strong winds, violent shaking, wildfires, landslides, and so on.
Safe Zoning Your Home
Protecting Your Home From Earthquakes: Because of earthquakes, the states located in the western part of the U.S. are some of the most hazardous places to live. So, if you’ve ever considered living on the west coast – in places like California, Oregon, and other earthquake-prone areas – make sure you inspect the foundation of your home.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also suggests that, before an earthquake, homeowners should secure and remove any items that can fall – like mirrors, bookshelves, televisions, and computers – and cause damage. It’s equally important to secure windows, bedroom sets, and objects hanging on the wall. The good news: most modern homes are typically bolted to their foundation. Older homes, on the other hand, are normally held in place by their own weight. This is why it’s important for homeowners to double check their foundation.
So, how do you earthquake-proof an older home?
First, you must be willing to spend a few hundred dollars on anchor bolts and brackets to attach your home to its original foundation. In return, these bolts will strengthen your home and prevent it from shaking uncontrollably. Also, make sure you secure those gas lines and electrical boxes. Lines that are busted can, in fact, make the aftermath of an earthquake just as deadly as the earthquake itself. That said, if you smell gas, leave the area immediately and keep an eye out for loose wires.
Protecting Your Home From Flash Floods: According to the National Geographic, floods are the most common types of natural disasters to occur, and they’re one of the most expensive when it comes to home repairs. Just one inch of water can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. Luckily, there are ways to build homes to avoid floods from happening.
Let’s say, for instance, you’re building a brand new home. Before you build your dream house, or your dream luxury doomsday shelter, you’re going to need to select a piece of land to build it on. Simple, right? The hard part is making sure the lot you’re interested in doesn’t sit on a floodplain. By purchasing a lot that doesn’t sit in this prone area, you can protect your home from routine flooding. This will also help lower insurance cost and allow your home to stand tall for years to come. So when you’re out looking for a new home or trying to find ways to protect your current home, look for areas with higher elevation and avoid places that sit close to ponds, drainages, and rivers.
You can also take steps to prevent flooding. For example, on days when it’s not raining outside, grab a ladder and clear those gutters from debris. If you think your property is susceptible to flooding, then it’s best to remove and store all your valuable items at a higher evaluation. After all, there’s only have a moment’s notice before a disaster strikes.
Preparing for a Hurricane: According to Rutgers University, natural disasters can have intense and often traumatic impacts on both individuals and their beloved community. A big reason why natural disaster impact residents’ mental health is due to the fact that little is known about them. In other words, natural disasters are the most misunderstood events that occur to date. Of all the natural disasters, however, hurricanes like Harvey and Irma are by far the most misunderstood.
That said, it’s important for homeowners to understand that hurricanes are essentially large cyclonic storms with winds that can reach up to 75 mph and usually accompanied by hail and heavy rain. The reason why it’s important for homeowners to understand this is because some insurance companies exclude this; meaning that since the definition isn’t addressed in their handbook, they can later use it as a loophole if you were to call and make a claim.
So to better equip your home against hurricanes before picking up the phone to call the insurance company, you cover your air conditioner, seal all windows and doors, and prepare appliances for power outages. In doing so, you can reduce the amount of water that comes in and protect your family from faulty wiring. This will also give you and your family enough time to create an evacuation plan and find other places to store your food.
Don’t forget: Your own safety is far more important than protecting your home, so if the neighborhood you live in is being evacuated, staying behind is never a good idea.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other ways homeowners can protect their living quarters? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Davis loves exploring the outdoors and being active. If you can’t catch him online reading up prep topics, you might be able to catch him out playing football with friends or cheering on the Boise State Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!