In 2018, the number of natural disasters reported around the world totaled 282, resulting in nearly 11,000 deaths and over 107 billion dollars in economic costs.
This includes everything from floods, wildfires, and droughts to hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
With so many possible disaster events that could happen, the last thing you want to be is unprepared, especially when it comes to protecting your home.
With that in mind, here are five ways you can prepare your home for natural disasters.
Ready Your Roof
Even if you don’t live in a hurricane or tornado zone, you still need to make sure your roof can withstand the gradual wind and water damage that storms can bring, or hold up against heavy snowfall.
One way to protect your roof is by installing a high-wind roof cover. These can be attached to your home using hurricane straps.
Missing or damaged shingles should also be replaced as soon as possible to minimize the risk of leaks. If there are trees around your house, make sure you trim them back to prevent the branches from scratching your roof in high winds or causing punctures if they fall.
The foundation of your home might not be at the forefront of your mind during disaster preparation, but it certainly should be.
A foundation that isn’t structurally sound has the potential to place your entire home at risk for damage, especially in the case of a flood or an earthquake.
Any cracks already present in your foundation can become larger under the pressure of fast-moving water during a flood or the stress of tremors during an earthquake.
Even if your foundation isn’t damaged, floods and earthquakes can cause the walls to crack or bow, and enough damage can cause your home to collapse.
A foundation repair can be done with steel piering, which stabilizes and raises your foundation using steel brackets to create a new foundation.
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, it might be a good idea to keep your home as flame-proof as possible.
Try to keep the area around your home clear of dry vegetation that could fuel a fire and mow your grass regularly.
Avoid combustible landscape materials like wood-chip mulch. If you have firewood outside, store it at least 30 feet downhill from your home. If you can, it’s best to keep it uphill.
To protect your windows, install either tempered glass or protective shutters. Inside, use flame-resistant drapes and regularly check to make sure your smoke alarms are functioning properly.
Winter storms and extreme heat both have the potential to create an uncomfortable environment inside your home.
In extreme heat, it’s important to keep your home as cool as possible. Invest in air conditioning and make sure that the ducts are properly insulated.
Reduce the amount of heat coming in through your windows by using temporary window reflectors, which can easily be made by covering cardboard with aluminum foil, and cover your windows with drapes, shades, or awnings. In extreme cold, you’ll need to stay as warm as possible.
One of the first things you can do is insulate your attic and caulk doors and windows to keep as much heat inside the house as possible.
If you’re left without power and you don’t have a generator, invest in an indoor propane heater, which is safe to use inside and will provide extra warmth.
Secure Your Items
If your home is located in an area at a high risk for earthquakes, you should be prepared by securing items that could injure you if they fall or break.
Anchor furniture like bookcases, filing cabinets, and large appliances to the walls with safety cables or straps.
Lock the wheels on your furniture to keep them from rolling during an earthquake and causing damage or injury.
On shelves, keep heavier items on the bottom and install ledge barriers to prevent items from falling off. Breakable items, computers, and small appliances can be secured to the surface they’re on.
For gas appliances, make sure you’ve fitted them with either flexible connections to prevent breakage or a breakaway gas shut-off that will turn off the gas if they do break.
No matter where you live, you should always keep safety tips in mind for possible natural disasters that may occur.
Even if you think you’ll never encounter one, your house is your sanctuary, and it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry when it comes to home.