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Safeguarding Homes And Families During Disasters

Recently, residents of Florida and several Southeastern states suffered hardships as a result of Hurricane Matthew, a Category IV storm. The massive weather system left a trail of destruction in its wake in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Although people cannot always obtain safety when a natural disaster strikes, households can take some measures to help safeguard lives and property:

First: Evaluate Local Threats

It may prove useful to evaluate the most common types of natural disasters in your location. While some disasters strike without warning, usually the most common types of threats facing a location also occurred there in the past.

For example, coastal areas face a higher risk of encountering hurricanes and tidal waves than inland sites. In much of the Midwest and the Great Plains, tornadoes remain a significant threat, as do earthquakes. Flooding usually impacts people near waterways or in low-lying areas. Families residing in heavily wooded places worry about forest fires as a common threat. In mountainous regions, winter avalanches, rock slides and even rare volcanic activity pose concerns. Spend some time considering the most common natural disasters in your locale in order to develop a family emergency plan to respond more effectively to these unwelcome events.

Second: Adhere to Evacuation Orders

If government authorities recommend evacuation, follow their suggestion. In the face of a fire or other natural disaster, your life matters far more than your possessions! Some experts recommend establishing prearranged meeting spots for family members to use if they become separated during a disaster.

Third: Protect Real Estate to The Extent Possible

No one can counteract certain powerful natural disasters effectively, of course. Yet you may find ways to better protect real estate from some common hazards:

Earthquakes

If you reside in a region prone to seismic activity, such as Southern California, consider investigating architectural measures to help homes withstand earthquakes. Structures engineered to sway during seismic activity may prove less likely to collapse. If periodic tremors afflict your location, some practical decorating steps help safeguard your real estate. You might want to invest in built-in enclosed appliances, cabinets and shelving, for instance, to keep items from tumbling to the ground.

Flooding

In some locations, the federal government offers inexpensive flood insurance. If this program serves your area, consider purchasing this protection. It could help your family recover financially after a serious flood.

Tornadoes

Recently, experts developed concrete reinforced safety shelters which offer enhanced security during a tornado. If your household receives sufficient advance warning to access a shelter, this type of structure could prove life-saving. Consider investing in one of these “safe rooms” in a tornado zone.

Fires

Experts recommend taking several precautions in areas prone to wildfires. First, remove all vegetation growing close to the residence; fire spreads easily from burning vegetation to overhanging eaves or other structures. Second, invest in a fire-resistant roof and siding. Third, keep prized personal belongings, such as family photos, in a fire resistant safe. An interior sprinkling system may prove helpful in some situations.

Other Disasters

Surging water represents the most serious hazard during hurricanes, followed by high winds transporting flying debris.  Property owners possess limited recourse during these calamities. To monitor the condition of your real estate from a distance, you could install a remote camera surveillance system in your home.

Planning Ahead

Planning sometimes helps protect homes during certain disasters. Remember, survival should remain the top priority!