“What If?” Presents Disaster Proofing Your Home



Imbedded in our minds is the worrisome mantra, “What if” that spans topics from safety and financial security to the health of loved ones, pets, and self.  Pondering “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy—valuable life skills comprising security, shelter, food, water, and medical care! In any emergency from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action! 

When we consider basic home safety for high winds, fires, freezing temperatures, hail, flooding, and earthquakes, do you wonder if you are well prepared? In the great state of North Carolina, few earthquakes arrive in the Piedmont Triad; however, the ripple effect caused when they do can lead to fires. Once homeowners begin to prepare for one natural or manmade disaster, it leads to further protection when facing most other scenarios.

Declutter

In most households with young children to preteens, piles of towels or belongings lie on staircases, while toys occupy living room floors. In situations of darkness or the need to move and act fast, it’s difficult to maneuver through a house with clutter.  Make it a priority for family member to organize their belongings and clean up personal items.

Be Window Smart

While exterior doors with large panels of glass are an attractive feature, find out their level of breakability. Decorative glass films are available as a shatterproof overlay for extra protection!  Despite the two-person effort peeling film and applying, flattening, and trimming, the result is well worth the time and minimal expense!

Tip:  Storm shutters are an additional layer of protection for your windows, and are made with 5/8-inch plywood or thick plastic shields.

Tip:  Seal all windows and doors with a waterproof sealant.

The Ideal Roof

An impact-resistant roof is the best protection against natural forces, which can dent and tear roof coverings. Class three and four ratings are available in slate, metal, and tile products.  Check with your insurer—available discounts may lower your premium.

Emergency Equipment Checks

Take a walk to the location of your shut-off valves inside and outside your home. During moments of emergency, you’ll occasionally need to stop the flow of water to appliances, fixtures, and faucets.  Additionally, acquaint yourself with electric and gas valves.

Other equipment to assess:

  • Change the batteries of smoke detectors annually, testing the unit afterwards.   Don’t forget to mark your calendar!
  • Have at least one fire extinguisher in the home, preferably in the kitchen!
  • Give family members a flashlight and batteries to ensure they have enough light to maneuver to a safe room.
  • Have children practice walking down escape ladders and openly discuss the home escape plan in case of a fire.
  • Charge solar-based power banks to always have a source for cell phones, flashlights, or other items.
  • Keep a solarized mini-radio, which serves multiple purposes.

Tip:  Inexpensive tools are available to remove dust and lint from refrigerator coils and your dryer vent to improve your power bill and save you from a potential fire.

Tip:  Proper care and maintenance of your chimneys, woodstoves, and fireplaces will prevent unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisoning; therefore, hire a professional, certified chimney sweep company annually.

Outdoor Awareness

Are lawn furniture and decorations made out of fire-resistant materials? Deter the threat of fire by replacing bark mulch with gravel, bark, or concrete features!  Being aware of potential threats and making smart purchases will ensure your family remains safe!

Tip:  How far can you extend your garden hose? Could it reach around your home?  Consider investing in light-weight, non-kink options.

Tip:  Determine if emergency vehicles can find your address.  Are numbers large and clear on mailboxes and porch posts?

Keep asking the important questions!

Next Month: The Purpose of a Panic Room

 

 


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