Mother Nature can strike at any time, and the results can be catastrophic and costly. Safety in Every Season
Natural disasters cost $210 billion worldwide in 2020, according to Investopedia.
How can you keep your home, family, and belongings safe in the face of an act of nature? From spring floods to autumn wildfires, we break down how to prepare for every season below.
Spring is just around the coner, and with it comes warmer weather, flowers, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and potential flooding. The National Weather Service has shared their best tips for preparing your home for typical springtime weather:
- Thunderstorms: trim the branches near your house and secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move valuable items to a sturdy place in your home to prep for a severe thunderstorm.
- Tornadoes: sign up for notifications if tornadoes are common in your area. Come up with a plan for your family, including an emergency meeting place and other information. Choose a secure location (preferably with a basement) to shelter if a tornado is coming, and practice the plan to make sure that everyone knows what they should do in the event of a tornado.
- Flooding: flooding is the most frequent natural disaster in the United States in any season, but springtime is when most floods occur. To prepare for a flood, create an emergency kit (the National Weather Service has a guide on their website), conduct regular home maintenance and have a professional put check-valves in your drains to prevent floodwater from entering your home. Make sure the sump pump is working, and mark electric circuit breakers and fuses. According to the experts at SERVPRO, the way you handle the flood’s aftermath is just as important. Excessive water can cause mold, which is harmful to you and your family. Contact your local professional cleaning service after a flood event or whenever you notice a powerful musty odor in your home.
Prepping your home for the summertime is more than just getting a few more pool toys. Summertime is home to hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures, all of which can wreak havoc on your home. We’ve already discussed tornadoes above, but we break down prep for hurricanes and extreme temperatures below.
- Hurricanes: how should you prep for a hurricane? Family Handyman highlights their best tips below:
- Fill gasoline containers in case of a power outage.
- Bring in outdoor objects (lawn furniture, toys, garden tools) and secure anything that you can’t bring inside.
- Find your water, gas, and electricity shut-offs.
- Brace your doors, shutter or board up windows, and secure your garage door.
- Elevate your furniture if you know that a storm is on the way.
- High Temperatures: summer is known for its baking heat, which can wreak havoc on your property. Take a look at The DIY Life’s tips for the best ways to protect your property from high temperatures:
- Conduct a yearly air conditioner and HVAC check with a qualified technician.
- Consider upgrading your attic insulation to lock in cool air.
- Clean the gutters to prevent any damage from increased rainfall that often comes with high temperatures.
Autumn comes with many of the risks that we’ve already discussed here: the amount of heat in the air makes severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires prevalent. Flood, drought, and other unexpected winter weather is also a possibility.
The National Weather Service recommends preparing for a wildfire by selecting building material and plants that are fire resistant when building a home and creating a family emergency plan in case of a catastrophic event.
Homeowners should also consider cleaning gutters and mowing lawns ahead of the season.
Winter storms can have a catastrophic effect on your property – from frozen burst pipes to damage from falling trees and power outages, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. The experts at Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health have highlighted some of the best ways to prepare for winter storms (and how to handle them once they’ve happened) below:
- Before the Storm
- Weatherproof your home: caulk and add weather strips to doors and windows, bulk out insulation, insulate any water lines that run on the exterior of your home, and review shutting off the water valves in the case of a burst pipe
- Plan for an alternative heat source if the power goes out: the options here vary – if you’ll be using a fireplace, make sure you have plenty of wood. Stock up on space heaters, and keep a fire extinguisher around just in case.
- Check your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector: replace batteries if you need to.
- During the Storm
- Prioritize keeping heat inside: check the temperature, and avoid going outside and opening doors and windows.
- Leave water taps slightly open: letting them drip continuously lessens the likelihood of freezing.
- Be extremely careful if using alternative heating: keep heat sources away from flammable items and closely supervise any children.
- Only run electric generators outside: use the proper outdoor-rated plugs to ensure safety.
It’s impossible to avoid every disaster, but these tips will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.