Tips to Fortify Your Home Against Hurricanes, Floods, and Other Natural Disasters


Depending on your location, your home may be subject to frequent storms, earthquakes, flooding, or a number of other natural disasters. Even if you haven't been affected yet, there's no guarantee that your home will never be targeted by Mother Nature. This is why it's important to carry the right homeowner's insurance, but it's also important to take steps to protect your home, your personal property, and your family.

Create a Storm Kit

A storm kit is something you should keep on hand that will help your family in an emergency. At a bare minimum, it should contain enough supplies to get your family through the first 48 hours of any natural disaster. A basic storm kit should contain blankets, trash bags, whistles, enough food for two days, and a filled 50 gallon water tank. You should also include a basic first aid kit to treat injuries on the spot, until medical assistance can arrive.

Invest in a Generator and Fuel

An average home should have a 5,500-watt generator to supply the home with power in the event of an electrical outage. Five gallons of gas will usually run your generator for about eight hours, although you can limit electrical usage and extend that time. For example, an unplugged refrigerator can keep food cold for up to four hours. Remember, that you'll want enough fuel to power your generator for 48 hours, so planning ahead is crucial.

Protect Your Electronics

A part of your household's disaster plan should involve protecting your electronic equipment. In most cases, electronics can cost much more to replace than furniture and other personal items. For this reason, your plan should involve moving electronics to a second or third floor of the home and covering them in protective plastic. Devices that can't be moved or covered can still be covered to a certain extent by unplugging them. A random lightning strike can send a surge through the home, which may fry any devices plugged into an outlet at the time.

Conserve Your Phone Battery

As a storm draws closer, you may want to make a point to charge your phone and limit use of the device. Once the storm, or other disaster, does hit, you'll need your cell phone for various reasons. You may need to call for help, or you may need access to apps that can help you get weather updates and give you information about emergency assistance. To extend the life of your battery, turn off unnecessary functions and apps, such as Bluetooth, GPS, and other services.

Survey Your Roof

This is especially important to do in the event of a heavy tropical storm, because your roof is the largest and most vulnerable opening to your home. Roofing experts recommend checking the quality of the roof, prior to hurricane season and making updates. An investment of $500 can pay for enough waterproofing tape to cover the seams. Alternatively, a similar investment may pay for a membrane that can provide a protective barrier between the roof and inclement weather.

Reinforce Weak Spots of Your Home

Before the storms begin to head in your direction, you may want to make a few improvements to the home's infrastructure. For instance, add roof straps, which are essentially metal brackets that secure the roof to the rest of the home. They can usually be attached in the attic for just $400 to $600. Porches and carports should similarly be fastened to the home more securely. When they're not reinforced in some way, these extensions can act like wings and a strong enough wind may tear them right off the home, leaving a gaping hole.

While it's not possible to anticipate everything that could happen, during a storm, there are steps you should take to be prepared. In addition to stocking up on supplies and strengthening the structure of your home, your family should go through disaster preparedness drills on a routine basis. This will ensure everyone knows what they're expected to do, when that big storm does hit.

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