Nobody ever wants to be in the thick of a natural disaster. But as dreary as anticipating danger might be, the best time to prepare for a calamity is when everything’s nice and breezy. So, don’t mind those who think you’ve been watching too many disaster movies. Learn some tips on how to protect your home from natural disasters, your property and your family’s safety could very well depend on it.
The first thing you need to do is to assess your risk. Do you live in a flood-prone area? Or are hurricanes or tornadoes a regular visitor in your location? If you’re a home buyer, this is an important consideration and due diligence is necessary. Advice from a trustworthy real estate agent is priceless in this instance.
Here are some tips on how to protect your home from natural disasters, depending on the danger that would most likely affect your home.
Flooding is one of the most costly and most common natural disasters in the United States. Just an inch of water inside your home could potentially set you back as much as $25,000. So, if you’re not too keen on the possibility of your home looking like a water park, it’s important that you determine your home’s base flood elevation (BFE). The BFE refers to how high the water’s expected to rise during flooding. You can ask your local floodplain manager for this information.
Once you have this information, you can then store your valuables and important documents in waterproof containers and store them above the BFE. Your appliances, other mechanical units, or stuff that can get damaged when wet must be placed at least 12 inches above your BFE.
Aside from this, here are other practical tips to flood-proof your home:
- Replace carpets with tiles or other water-resistant materials to lessen the water damage.
- Consider having a sump pump if you have a basement. Also, flood-proof your home by sealing basement walls using water-resistant compounds.
- Seal cracks and gaps. An exterior water-resistant wall sheathing could also help prevent severe water damage during flooding.
- Secure items in your yard as they can be swept away or swept inside your home and cause further damage.
- Clear your gutters and make sure you have no drainage issues. Consider investing in a sewer backflow valve to prevent sewage from backing up through drain pipes during heavy rain.
When earthquakes are mentioned, most people almost immediately associate them with places like California or Alaska. And while these two states are the most earthquake-prone areas in the country, the Rockies, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington State, and some parts of the east coast get their fair share of seismic activity as well. So if you live in any of these states, listen up!
Most injuries during an earthquake were mostly due to heavy debris and furniture falling on people. Thus, to ensure the safety of your family during an earthquake, you must take care of the potential falling objects. Here are common areas to start:
- Bookcases and cabinets must be secured to the wall. And cabinet doors must be safely latched close at all times.
- Heavy objects must be placed on the lower part of shelves.
- Lock rollers of large equipment or furniture.
- Use flexible gas for your gas appliances.
- Strap large appliances to walls.
In general, you must be well-versed with your local community’s preparedness plans in case of disaster. Further, even teens in the house must know where the electric and gas shutoff controls are so that they can be ready should there be a need to shut them off when disaster strikes.
Investing in your home’s structural elements is money well spent. Here are some tips:
- Install steel plate and anchor bolts between your home and its foundation.
- Brace unreinforced foundation, masonry or concrete walls, and chimneys.
- Check your crawl space. Adding a support beam might be necessary.
Hurricanes are the price you have to pay if you want to live near the ocean. Every year, hurricane winds cause 54 billion in economic losses in the US alone. If you have a property in a hurricane hotbed, the wisest thing you can do is hurricane-proof your home. Here are some tips for doing just that:
- Invest in high-impact windows. Or if you’re short on the budget for that, at least install window films. While these will not increase the resistance of your windows to powerful winds, they could hold the glasses together if your windows break.
- Roofs often bear the brunt of a hurricane’s destructive power. If you don’t want to be one of those homeowners whose roofs are blown off during a hurricane, strengthen your roof with a steel clip. This type of steel connector attaches the roof truss to the top of the wall frame. Additionally, consider using metal roofing materials as they’re hurricane-resistant compared to shingles.
- Install a heavy-duty garage door. Or, if this is not possible in your situation, a removable galvanized steel and metal panel is the next best option.
Wildfire season starts from July to October. However, climate change has made the situation worse and wildfires can start even beyond their typical season. So if your property is located near swaths of vegetation, you’ll need to go the extra mile in fireproofing your home.
- The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home in case of a wildfire. Wood shingles could easily burst into flames when embers from the wildfire make their way to your property. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, go for metal, tile, or clay roof materials. Further, make it a habit to regularly clear out plant debris on your roof.
- Use flame- and ember-resistant vents. Another option is to cover vent openings with wire mesh to keep the embers out.
- Make sure your decks and walls are made of ignition-resistant materials like treated wood, fiber cement, or stucco.
- Store all combustible items in your house away from ignition sources like the fireplace or stove.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and other tools that can come in handy in case of fire, like buckets, a water hose, or shovels.
- Install screens in your window to prevent embers from entering your home and leaving a trail of destruction. Using tempered glass as window material is a good choice as it doesn’t easily break in a fire.
Natural disasters can wreak havoc on your property and your well-being. And for this reason, you can never be too careful in preparing for the worst. So here’s how to protect your home from natural disasters: home insurance. It’s just one of the things that makes you sleep soundly at night even if you’ll never have to use it. And with the help of digital platforms, like LemonBrew Insurance, the process of getting insurance for your home is very seamless and affordable – from quote to finish. Get your free quote today!