Natural disasters and weather-related damage account for an annual bill of $23.46 billion in the United States. Most homeowners are counseled to practice safety at home by protecting investments, watching over loved ones, opting for healthy choices, and making responsible decisions. To some degree, those are all things you have a certain level of control over. But, what do you do when Mother Nature decides to throw you a curveball? Is there a manual of home safety tips for natural disasters to prepare you for the unexpected?
Regardless of the time of year or geographic location, Americans often find themselves falling victim to damage caused by natural disasters. From wind damage and flooding, to tornadoes and hurricanes, you need to know how to keep your home safe during a natural disaster. Across our country, homeowners can be the victim of:
While you can’t transplant your home to move it out of the path of danger, you can take some steps to protect your family and prevent damage to your home. Keep reading to discover our safety tips for natural disasters.
To keep you and your family safe during a natural disaster, these preparedness safety tips can prevent injuries and make the difference in an emergency:
When you think of natural disasters, hail storms are not likely to jump to the front of your mind. But, these pesky storms can cause an overwhelming amount of damage to your property. In 2015, there were 5,412 major hail storms, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all insured losses.
Hailstorms can cause a significant amount of damage. But, you can prepare yourself for safety at home. First and foremost, resist the urge to bring in your possessions after hail begins to fall to avoid injuries. Your safety is of the utmost importance. You can avoid personal injury by staying indoors.
To avoid having to brave the storm, take these preventative measures:
Quick Tip: Repair the damage to your home as soon as possible after a storm has occurred. Often, you can avoid additional damage simply by making quick repairs. For example, you might avoid thousands of dollars in water damage by fixing a damaged roof.
According to FEMA, the United States experiences about 1,200 tornadoes each year. On average, tornadoes claim 227 lives and lead to annual damage costs of approximately $1,086,575,000.
Tornadoes can be a scary emergency. In 2012, a category six tornado swept through parts of Indiana and Kentucky causing $1.5 billion in damage. Winds were so severe that debris was later found nearly 57 miles away.
While tornadoes often occur with little notice, there are some preventative measures you can take to prepare your home. Check out these tips:
Quick tip: Don’t forget about your pets. Have an evacuation plan in place that includes safe haven for your family and your pets. Want to learn more about tornadoes? Check here to separate tornado fact from fiction.
In the United States, hurricanes have cost a whopping $319.7 billion since 1992. Hurricane Katrina alone takes the spot for most expensive, with a final total of $108 billion in damage. Hurricanes are dangerous events that leave destruction scattered in its wake. Even if you aren’t located on a coast, you could still be affected by a hurricane. Preparedness safety is importnat regardless of where you live. According to DoSomething.org, approximately 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater after Hurricane Katrina struck.
How can you practice safety at home during a hurricane? Follow these tips.
Quick tip: If your home is damaged by a hurricane, document the damage and any injuries with photography to help in the claims process. Often, a large amount of homes are damaged in a hurricane and it can take longer to process claims. Photographic evidence is helpful during this process.
Flooding occurs in all 50 states. Regardless of climate, you could be subject to emergency flooding. It can happen anywhere and there is no rhyme or reason to predicting where a flood could strike.
If these statistics tell you anything, it’s that flooding is unpredictable and can affect anyone. According to DoSomething.org, “90% of all U.S. natural disasters declared by the President involve some sort of flooding.” How can you protect yourself? Follow these home safety tips to keep your family and home safe during a flood:
Quick tip: Consider flood insurance. According to FEMA, “More than 25 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) flood insurance claims are for structures outside identified floodplains.” Flood insurance can be purchased for as little as $80 per year.
2015 set a new record in the United States for wildfires. From January to December, there were 68,151 wildfires causing damage to 10,125,149 acres. According to CNN, these fires destroyed 4,636 structures and 2,638 residences. In 2017 alone, from January 1 to March 17, 10,829 wildfires have burned 2.1 million acres. Wildfires are a serious threat and can cause an astonishing amount of damage very quickly.
Often, wildfires are caused by people. Many wildfires start because of a campfire, exhaust sparks, or even arson. Some are the result of lightning. Regardless of the catalyst, there is potential for devastation. How can you practice good safety at home to reduce the probability that your home and family will be affected?
Check out these tips:
Quick tip: Check your fire detectors frequently to ensure they are functioning properly at all times. Keep gloves and thick-soled shoes on hand to avoid injury should a fire occur. Also, check out these hidden home fire hazards.
Ultimately, your safety is paramount. When a situation is beyond your control, you may need to evacuate. In any natural disaster situation, FEMA recommends practicing the “Five Ps of Evacuation”:
Mother Nature is an unpredictable force. While you can’t always avoid the potential for danger due to natural disasters, you can take preventative measures to avoid injuries, achieve safety at home, and reduce the amount of damage to your property and your family. Check out this post for more information on developing a family evacuation plan.