4 things you might not have thought about when prepping your home for a disaster
Editors note: Please welcome H. Davis to the site. H. Davis enjoys exploring the outdoors and loves reading up on new ways to prep his home (and car) for disasters. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him at the gym or watching sports (Go, Broncos!). Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241
According to Eastern Kentucky University, an average of 139 million people are affected by natural disasters annually, and that number continues to grow given how unpredictable mother nature is. Disaster like earthquakes, hurricanes, and violent rotating columns of air we call tornadoes can rip a home to pieces in a matter of minutes.
That’s why it’s important to take necessary steps toward reducing your risk of injury by protecting your home. In return, you and your family will be safer, and your home will be ready to withstand the fight against those harsh weather conditions. Here are some steps to get started:
Create a Digital Cloud:
When the time comes to evacuate your home, there’s a good chance you might forget your computer along with your portable hard drive, which means the pictures you’ve captured over the years might never be seen again. To make matters worse, those important documents that contain financial information and social security records are also at risk of never being seen again – depending on the disaster. One way to ensure that you don’t risk losing any of your valuable documents is by storing copies of them on a cloud.
With that being said, if you are relying on the cloud, making sure you have some sort of digital home inventory is vital. Storing information on a cloud also gives you access to photos, videos, and other documents you might need for your insurance claim. As an added bonus, the cloud can be used as a communication tool as well. How? Well, some cloud software – like UCView and Enplug – comes equipped with digital signage – a critical response tool used for mass communication during emergency situations. This means users can contact someone if they’re stuck in the house, or to let close relatives know that they’re somewhere safe.
Editor’s note: having a small, encrypted key chain thumb drive with this data is also a possibility. Click the pic to the right for more details
Identify the Risks Around Your Home:
Knowing and understanding the most common types of hazards in your surrounding area – especially if you’re new to the area – can help you create preparation plans. The best thing to do in this case is to focus on the areas that need immediate attention, then work your way down from there. But to have a better understanding of where your house lies in the danger zone, homeowners should first take a look at the natural disaster risk map. This would also be a good time to double-check with your insurance policy to make sure you’re covered by the various events that could put your house at risk.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out our link on Crime Prevention tips from a veteran cop. It has some great tips on preventing crime in your home.
Have An Evacuation Plan:
For most residents, the hardest thing to do during a disaster is leaving all your possessions behind. This is especially when you’re trying to pack everything. Nevertheless, when it comes to preparing for a natural disaster, planning is essential, and it’s no different when it comes to your home. But before a plan can be executed, you should first get familiar with evacuation routes in your surrounding area ahead of time, and be prepared to leave the comfort of your home within 30 minutes of being told to go.
Having one plan, however, isn’t enough. This means that you might need to create two or three more plans to accommodate your children, pets, and other relatives in case certain points around your home are blocked off by falling debris. Your emergency bag/kit should also have everything you need in it. Be sure to include important copies of documents (insurance cards, social securities, and passport) in your kit, as well as cash. Whatever you do, don’t rely on credit and debit cards to get you by since these electronics can fail at any time.
For extra security, you should also consider having the name and number of an out-of-state relative to stay in contact with. Be sure your other family members know the name and number as well. This will be your emergency contact should anything happen. If for some reason you and your family get separated from one another, this will be the person everyone will contact to let others know where they are. In order for the family to know though, it has to be discussed by everyone.
One final thing to remember is to never park your car on an empty tank of gas. No matter how beautiful the weather might be. That’s because if a disaster strikes near you and you need to evacuate immediately, an empty gas tank can mean the difference of life and death.
Once the disaster is over, you and your family will have to deal with the aftermath. However, cataloging your personal property with a home inventory can help you keep track of all your possessions. Although this might feel like a tedious process, think about it. How easy would it be for you and your family to recall all the things you didn’t want to leave behind?
Taking an inventory can also help insurance reimbursement, and even make it easier for you to apply for federal disaster aid. Remember, the health and safety of your family should be the first priority, and although preparedness doesn’t happen overnight, taking steps towards to being prepared can reduce the risk of being hit unexpectedly and give you peace of mind.
Editor’s note: I have pictures of all of my valuables, including serial numbers. These pics are on my phone and also my thumb drive. This helps prove ownership with the insurance companies, and will assist law enforcement in finding stolen property.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some ways homeowners can prepare their homes before a disaster strikes? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Stay safe out there!
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