When you are trying to prepare your home and family for a natural disaster, you face very stressful and uncertain times. That’s why it may be easier if you approach your preparations in terms of what not to do, rather than trying to remember everything that you should do. By avoiding some of the most common natural disaster preparation mistakes, you will have a much easier time ensuring that you are properly prepared.
- Putting Off Preparations
One of the worst mistakes people make when prepping for a natural disaster is waiting until the last minute to take action. Homeowners cannot assume that their homes or families are safe from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters, because they can strike anywhere at any time. That’s why you need to be proactive and ensure your home and family are as prepared as possible.
Some of the most important, yet simple steps to take to proactively prepare for a natural disaster include practicing and planning. For example, you should practice tornado and earthquake drills with your family. You also should have an emergency plan in place and review it regularly as a family, making updates as necessary. Procrastinating or failing to prepare are two surefire ways of putting your family at risk when a natural disaster strikes.
- Being Unprepared for Injuries and Emergencies
You cannot avoid natural disasters altogether, but you can be as prepared for their aftermath as possible. This includes having knowledge of first aid and being prepared to treat injuries that occur as a result of a natural disaster. One of the first things you should do to protect your family during a natural disaster is to have fully-stocked first aid kids and emergency supply kits in various locations throughout your home.
Parents should know infant or child CPR and attend first aid classes to know how to treat their children. Parents also should teach their children about first aid and emergencies, because children sometimes need to take action when their parents are unable to do so. Children should be aware of how to administer care and contact the authorities or emergency medical services in the event of a natural disaster emergency.
- Assuming Your Home Can Withstand a Natural Disaster
Hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, and wildfires take their toll on homes every year. One mistake you cannot afford to make is assuming your home can withstand a natural disaster. For example, you should remove debris that may damage your home when high winds hit, have the appropriate plywood sheets cut to the appropriate sizes to board your windows before a storm hits, and know exactly how to turn off your utilities.
You also should have a professional inspect your home, including the foundation, to know exactly which repairs and changes are necessary to strengthen your home. It’s a good idea to ensure that wall studs are attached with hurricane clips rather than just nails and secure large appliances with flexible cables.
And don’t neglect your home’s exterior. Specifically, pool owners should give their pool some attention if there is time to prepare before a natural disaster. For example, in the event of a hurricane or other severe storm, add extra chlorine to your pool. Doing so will give it a “shock” and will help protect against any pollutants that end up in the water. And leave your pool uncovered. Yes, that probably seems counter-intuitive, but it could save you a bundle in the damages that can be caused by a pool cover set loose by high winds.
- Failing to Stock Up on the Essentials
Without the necessary essentials, your family will have a very difficult time surviving a powerful natural disaster. It’s key to have essential items in an emergency disaster kit in an accessible place when disaster strikes. Items to include are water, food, medical supplies, flashlights, batteries, bulbs, candles, waterproof matches, a radio, personal hygiene items, and personal documents.
- Not Acquiring the Proper Coverage
Homeowners who fail to make sure they’re fully covered by insurance put their homes and their families at risk when natural disasters strike. You need to know your policies and exactly what is covered before it is too late. It’s also recommended for homeowners to take photos or videos of the contents of very room and to keep receipts for valuable items. Keep in mind that most policies do not include flood insurance, so it’s important to consider getting flood insurance if you live in an area of high risk. Homeowners in areas prone to earthquakes often opt for supplemental policies that cover quakes as well.
You can never be completely prepared for a natural disaster, but if you avoid these five mistakes, you’ll be much better off when a natural disaster strikes your area. Remember, a proactive approach that includes planning and preparing in advance is the best one to take when you want to protect your home and family from a natural disaster.
Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter and SoCal resident. He has seen is fair share of natural disasters and knows all too well the damage they can cause when people in their paths aren’t prepared. He created DisasterWeb.net to share his emergency preparedness knowledge and to offer the many emergency planning and natural disaster-related resources he has compiled from his online research. When he isn’t adding new information to his site, Bradley enjoys relaxing on the beach with his wife.
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