Disaster Preparation: Protecting Your Home
As we see hurricane Laura’s effects in the news, it’s crucial to remain alert and prepare as hurricane season remains active and typically peaks in September. In fact, the National Weather Service recently revised its predictions for the 2020 Atlantic season, saying the region could see up to 25 named storms in an “extremely active” year. While it is never possible to eliminate all damage from a natural hazard, you, as a homeowner, can protect your home and family. To accomplish this, take small and cost-effective steps that could significantly lower your risk. Your family and home deserve the protection that only you can provide.
The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these five critical areas: roof, straps, windows, doors, garage doors. A cost-effective way to protect your windows is to cover them with plywood. Start preparing for heavy rainfall by securing your rain gutters and clearing the drains. You also want to keep tarps and some cords to tie them down in case you need to patch up holes in your house. When the storm arrives, flooding and downed power lines may also require you to turn off your power, so become familiar with your circuit breaker and the electrical panel and be prepared to switch it off.
Plan for the worst-case scenario. Sometimes, maintaining a list helps prevent last-minute expenses and unnecessary stress. Consider making a list with each household member and their contact information. Identify health conditions or disability-related needs of your group. Put your plans and copies of your financial, insurance, and medical information in waterproof storage containers.
Speaking of insurance! Have you considered the cost to rebuild? Some people insure their homes to what the value of the house is. Building costs are always on the rise, so be proactive and see if you’ll have enough to rebuild. One way to do this is to read over your insurance policy. Research flood insurance options and discuss it with your local insurance agent or emergency management office. Keep in mind that there is usually a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. If you do not have homeowner’s insurance, then you may be eligible for assistance under FEMA’s Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program to pay for necessary repairs to essential parts of your home.
Stay up to date on the latest weather conditions and evacuation routes and practice your emergency plan. We can prepare, plan, and protect, but it’s just as important to practice your emergency disaster plan every six months. Last but not least, maintain a hopeful outlook. Remember that the federal government, your state government, and many non-governmental disaster services agencies have already mobilized to address the hurricane’s threat.
For more related information, visit us at Disaster Prep. You can also browse government sites such as Ready.gov and the American Red Cross. And for active watches, warnings, or advisories, you can log on to Weather Advisories. These are great resources to help get you started, obtain suggestions for kit contents and other items that you may not have previously considered.