Approximately 1 in 10 homes in the US are impacted by natural disasters each year. Flooding, storms, earthquakes, tornados, fire, and other disasters can seriously damage your home, so it’s best to be prepared.
Much of what you can do to protect yourself depends on the specific natural disasters in your region. However, there are certain steps you can take to protect your home and your family in case of most natural disasters.
Make Sure You Have Home Insurance
While you can definitely adopt a range of measures to protect your home ahead of time, there’s no way to accurately predict just how damaging storms and other natural disasters can be.
To truly protect your home, you need home insurance in these cases. Carefully evaluate your current policy to understand which scenarios it covers. Changing your coverage to ensure you’re protected could be in your best interests.
Stay Up-to-Date on Local Weather Forecasts
Knowing what to expect during a major storm plays a key role in planning for safety and protecting your home. You should stay current on local weather forecasts to avoid a storm catching you by surprise.
Stock up on common supplies like food and water as soon as you hear about a big upcoming storm. As the storm draws closer, your local weather forecasts should have more information about anticipated wind speeds, rainfall, and other factors.
Your weather forecast can also provide a fairly precise estimate of when the storm will really kick in, but it’s best not to take risks based on that timeline. Make sure that you’re safely at home or wherever you’re weathering the storm well in advance.
Know Where Your Home’s Shutoffs Are
During many natural disasters, some of the most significant threats arise from within your home. Your electrical, gas, and water lines all present a risk to your home if they should become damaged.
Make sure that you know where the shutoffs for these utilities are. Your gas and water lines should have clearly marked shutoff valves that you can turn to shut off the supply. Similarly, your home’s electrical system will have a breaker panel with a main shutoff breaker.
If your home starts to experience flooding or other serious damage, shut off the electricity, water, and gas immediately. Otherwise, you could find yourself dealing with more flooding, fire hazards, or electrocution risks.
Secure Outdoor Furniture
Various types of debris can cause a lot of damage when blown about by the wind. Secure any outdoor furniture or other objects that the wind might take hold of. Doing so can protect your home’s windows from a sudden impact.
You should also consider the risk of other hazards, such as tree branches. While you may not be able to do so on short notice, keeping trees safely trimmed can prevent serious damage to your home.
Install Storm Shutters
Even small bits of debris or branches can shatter windows in a major storm. Storm shutters can protect your windows and are easy to install. They’re available in just about as many styles as regular shutters, too.
Make sure to close your shutters if you already have them. They should latch firmly shut. Leaving them open only introduces more ways for your home to become damaged by the storm.
Act Fast on Any Storm Damage
Dealing with storm damage isn’t just about preparing ahead of time. If a storm compromises your home, you must act immediately to prevent further damage. Water can quickly enter your home, and wildlife infestations are another major concern.
If your roof, windows, or other parts of your home are breached, you need an emergency tarp up. Professionals can provide this emergency service, where they get to your home quickly and enclose your roof to stop water damage.
The temporary covering can save you a lot of money in eventual repairs. Once the storm has subsided, you can move forward with repairs. Only professionals should handle emergency tarping, as a compromised structure is dangerous.
Keep You and Your Family Safe
Alongside damage to homes, natural disasters also cause an increasing number of deaths each year. 2021 saw more than 700 deaths due to natural disasters in the US.
Follow evacuation recommendations when they are issued, and make sure to have at least a three-day supply of food and water ready. When preparing your home for a natural disaster, remember that your top priority should be the safety of you and your family.