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How to prepare your home for a natural disaster

Most threats can be predicted to a lower or a higher degree. You either know that you might stumble upon them when you’re at certain places at certain times, or it might depend on the kind of people you’re with. This results in you knowing exactly when to be prepared to protect yourself. On the contrary, due to global warming and the overall instability of our planet, you can never be sure when a natural disaster will strike. This means that you need to be well prepared at all times. Whether it be floods, wildfires, or earthquakes, you need to act very alertly to ensure your safety and the safety of those closest to you. Luckily, there are many developed strategies to do this. Unfortunately, knowing how to prepare your home for a natural disaster might not be as easy.

Keep your ‘go-to kit’ minimal

a first aid kit that is one of the most important things to have in your 'go-to bag' when preparing your home for a natural disaster.
A first aid kit should be one of the essentials in your ‘go-to bag’ when preparing your home for a natural disaster.
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

What a lot of people tend to do, when preparing their home for a natural disaster, is to overcrowd. They do this in the hope of having everything they could possibly need on hand if the dreadful time comes. What they don’t think of is that in these sorts of circumstances, our brains aren’t exactly what you’d call reasonable. When the adrenaline kicks in, we lose all sense of sanity and logic and we just want to survive. In this state, we cling on to things that are most practical and helpful. We don’t really think about the little things. This is why you shouldn’t overcrowd your survival bag with things you think just might be useful because it’ll just amp up the feeling of bewilderment.

Technically, what you want to have in your ‘go-to kit’ is survival food and water to last you for a while, a first aid kit, a flashlight, something you can use to call for help (maybe an extra cellphone), any medicine that you personally might need or use daily and anything else that you cannot survive without. Anything aside from this will just be overkill.

First thing’s first

Before even thinking about how to prepare your home for a natural disaster, you need to consider what you’ll do if you’re caught in the crossfire in your home. Depending on what kind of a disaster we’re talking about, you have different options.

Earthquake

There’s a common misconception that any doorway will do for seeking temporary shelter when it comes to earthquake preparedness. This is NOT true, and can even put you in more danger than you were in before. If you are completely certain that the doorway you’re standing under is strongly supported, then you have our green light. Otherwise, find the nearest sturdy desk you can crawl under, as this is where you’ll be safest.

Flood

A flooded street. It's important to think about floods when trying to prepare your home for a natural disaster.
Think about the possibility of flooding when trying to prepare your home for a natural disaster.
Image by analogicus from Pixabay

If you have time to prepare your home for this specific kind of natural disaster, it’s smart to turn off electricity before even thinking about saving anything else. During a flash flood, however, your first instinct might be to get out of your house because you’ll feel trapped in it. On the other hand, there are too many objects such as cars and other heavy vehicles that could block your passage and/or fall on you. What you need to do in this situation is to get to the highest ground.

Wildfire

Being at home when a wildfire hits can be frightening. However, if you find yourself in this situation and just cannot escape, here’s what you need to do. Fill all of your tubs and sinks with cold water and call 911 to inform them of your location. Doors and windows are best closed yet unlocked and you need to avoid standing next to them.

Tornado

A hurricane destroying a house in its path.
Preparing your home for a natural disaster isn’t an easy task, especially if we’re talking about tornado.
Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

First of all, find a safe place to hide. If you can move to a basement or a shelter you have already prepared for this situation, that’d be preferable. An underground storage unit can come in handy as well.  However, if you need to stay inside of your home, make sure that you steer clear from rooms that have a lot of knickknacks that can fall on you. If you have time, it’s a good idea to use a portable radio to get the quickest updates about the storm.

Be prepared

For you to be the safest you can be, it’s really smart to prepare your home for a natural disaster before it hits. Here are some tips and tricks you need to be aware of.

A pile of folders with important documents in them.
Think about putting away important documents to a safe location when preparing your home for a natural disaster.
Image by Pixabay from Pexels
  • Not moved in yet?
    If you’re looking for advice on how to prepare your home for a natural disaster before you’ve even purchased it, way to go. This smart move gives you the opportunity to see your area’s natural disaster history. It means you can choose anything from the material your new home is made of to the shelters you might need.
  • Evacuation plans
    If everything’s according to the law, you should have a hold of your home’s evacuation plans. Aside from this, you can also check out where your water and electricity turn off to be able to do it faster.
  • Documents and important papers
    It’s best to keep documents and important papers in boxes that are waterproof and near your entrance. This way you can carry them out if there’s time. This especially refers to your insurance documents! You can also use a storage company to keep your documents safe and to completely get rid of any fear that you’ll lose them. When preparing your home for a natural disaster, it might also be smart to keep your ‘go-to kit’ here if you don’t have a shelter so that it doesn’t get destroyed or misplaced.
  • Details
    Customary to your home, you might have some details, such as precious memories you’ll want to hold on to. If there’s enough time, you can always come and collect them. But it’s important to stress that you do this last, after everyone and everything’s already safe and sound and you’ve established that you’re in no danger.

After

People who haven’t gone through a natural disaster in their home don’t really have a sense of how scary it can be. As much as you’ll need to redo a lot of things in your home, you’ll also have to recover yourself. It’s completely normal to feel anxious and unsafe after you’ve lived through it. Luckily, you were smart to prepare your home for a natural disaster and are okay. There is a huge number of people who have gone through exactly the same thing. Many of them are eager to share their experiences and be understood. So, don’t hesitate to look for help.

Author bio: Elisabeth Hastings was an important part of The Disaster Research Center (DRC) and has contributed to the particular field of research of hurricanes to a great degree. Today, she works with moving companies such as bigapplemoving.com and continues to help the society in a somewhat different, but still equally important and impressive manner. She’s here to share what she has learned so far and spread awareness in order to defuse the number of people who get hurt during natural disasters.

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