Natural disasters can happen anywhere in the country, and it’s important for you and your family to be prepared. Whether you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or you deal with tornadoes or earthquakes, taking the time to get prepared early can save your home and family. Here are six steps you should take to ensure that you’re ready for whatever may come.
Determine the Risks
The West Coast experiences earthquakes, but the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico have to watch for hurricanes. While tornadoes are a problem in the plains, the Midwest has to deal with floods. While you cannot stop the disasters from occurring, you can prepare based on the damage your home is likely to incur. Make sure home is built to code so that it can withstand harsh weather and damage.
Invest in Improvements
Homes in hurricane prone areas should have special hurricane straps that will help hold their homes in place during high winds. You can also get impact resistant windows that can withstand debris hitting them in a storm. You can protect your home from earthquakes with special cripple walls and anchoring. Even securing your electronics and items on shelves and walls can prevent serious injury.
Get the Right Insurance
Homes in flood areas need proper insurance. Most insurance companies won’t cover water damage from widespread flooding, so you’ll have to invest in specific flood insurance. Call your insurance company and talk to them about your coverage to ensure that you’re protected in the event of any natural disaster.
Put Special Items in Secure Storage Sheds
You may want to keep your family pictures, insurance papers and other irreplaceable items in a place that will stay dry and safe. Consider a storage unit rental to keep your paperwork and irreplaceable family heirlooms protected from damage. Storage units are also more resistant to high winds and earthquakes than most wood frame houses, so your special items will be safe through most types of natural disasters.
Establish Safe Zones
It’s important to know where you’ll go to stay safe during the storm. In earthquakes and tornadoes, the safest areas are interior rooms with no windows. When a flood or hurricane forces evacuation, you need to be prepared to get out of the area. Make a list of friends and family in nearby states that you could potentially stay with in an emergency situation.
Put a Plan in Place
Sit down with your family and put an emergency plan in place. Discuss where you’ll meet if you’re away from the home when the disaster strikes. Make sure the kids know what safe areas to go to when there’s an emergency. Outlining this information ahead of time will help you avoid confusion after a disaster.
Nobody wants to think about losing their home or family in a natural disaster, but it’s better to put plans in place and be prepared to prevent it from happening. With the right planning, you can be ready for anything the weather brings.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She enjoys writing about home, family, business and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book when she isn’t writing.