Thursday, June 13

4 Storm-Preparedness Steps Every Homeowner Should Take

Storms are a part of life. Whether you live high in the mountains, by the beach, or out in the open plains, chances are, a low-pressure system or two will roll through your neighborhood and threaten the safety of your property.

No matter where you live, storm preparedness is essential to keeping your family and your belongings safe. From securing household items down to making sure your septic tank is functioning properly (25% of U.S. use a septic system), there are dozens of things you need to consider prior to a storm striking your area. By taking the proper precautions, you can ensure that you don’t have to rebuild or replace parts of your home with each passing gale.

Luckily, storm preparedness is fairly simple. It only takes a bit of planning and a few key steps to protect your home and loved ones. To help your home weather nearly any storm unharmed, follow these four easy tips and tricks:

1. Identify Risks

Before you make a safety plan, take the time to research what hazards are most common in your area. Do you live in a hurricane zone, or a flood plain? Are you more likely to experience a tornado or a blizzard? Roughly 92% of people use the internet to search for homes — why not use it to research neighborhood weather? Though this may seem intuitive, you may be surprised to discover that you live in an area prone to wildfires or drought. Each of these natural disasters requires slightly different preparedness action, so doing a little research is the first step towards creating a safety plan.

2. Develop A Family Safety Plan

Before you look for ways to protect your property, ensure that you have a safety plan for the people you care about most. Start by identifying evacuation routes, and establish a plan for who will pack what. Make sure your family knows how to move through your home safely during a storm, too– since a single fallen power line can carry a deadly 400,000 to 750,000 volts, everyone should know the location of power lines on your property, and how to avoid dangerous shocks should powerlines fall in a storm.

3. Check Your Insurance

During the past five years, claims related to wind and hail damage on a national basis accounted for almost 40% of all insured losses, averaging approximately $15 billion annually; and growing each year. Once your family has a storm-preparedness plan in place, it’s time to protect your house and other belongings. Do research to see what your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can cover. This step may be tedious, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Replacing a single window can cost between $300 and $700, but insurance can help offset the costs of storm damage. Get the best insurance you can find for your area, so that when that Category 5 storm whips through, you’re not left penniless.

4. Get Building

While insurance can help you rebuild after a storm, doing a little construction before the storm comes can help protect your belongings. If you’re in a flood-prone area, take a look at the type of basement or crawlspace you have. The subfloor in a pier and beam foundation is at least half an inch of plywood which supports the house, and this style sits higher off the ground than a slab foundation. As such, a pier and beam foundation might withstand minor floods more easily than a slab foundation. Talk to a local mason or contractor to see whether your basement needs specialized flood protection.

Beyond foundation protection, you can prep your home against storms in other ways. Consider getting storm shutters to protect your windows. Keep your gutters clear to divert rainwater away from the foundation, and check your roof at least once a year to ensure that it can bear the force of winds or the weight of heavy snowfall.

You can’t prevent storms, but with a little planning, you and your home can weather storms unharmed. To keep your loved ones and your property safe, follow this four-step plan. By doing research, utilizing insurance, and following basic storm preparedness steps, your home will enjoy many days in the sun!

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