As homeowners, we go out of our way to protect our home financially. We purchase flood and hazard insurance, invest in a reliable home warranty, and try to choose a safe neighborhood or town to live in. No matter what we do to protect our property and loved ones, there are still plenty of opportunities for unexpected disaster to strike. Even with insurance and warranties in place, our homes can pose untold risks to ourselves and our loved ones if not properly secured. Here are four ways you can prepare for the unexpected and make your home the safest it can be.
- Stock up on water
While many of us have prepared for the possibility of whatever natural disaster is most likely to occur in our area, be it earthquake, forest fire, flood, hurricane or tornado, there are ongoing environmental threats that can often wreak havoc inside our homes. We often take clean air and water in our homes for granted and should take steps to protect these resources in the event that access to clean air and water within the home is threatened.
Tragic happenings like the Flint Water Crisis or the West Virginia chemical spill have shaken the faith that many of us have in the reliable safety of our plumbing and water supply. Both of these events left people without access to clean drinking water for an extended period of time.
Learning how to conserve and save water can help make the most of your water sources during emergencies. It’s also important to know how to make drinking water safe in the case of a natural disaster. With the exception of water that has been contaminated by chemicals or toxic waste, boiling, filtering, and disinfecting water can be done through a variety of means. Additionally, having a stash of prefiltered, sealed and secured safe water in storage is important for being prepared to go several hours or days without reliable access to safe water after a disaster.
- Monitor your indoor air quality
Another thing that’s often overlooked when securing your home is the indoor air quality. One of the best ways to protect air quality in the home is to ban smoking of any kind. Additionally, homeowners should prioritize protection from deadly and silent killers that can strike without warning, such as carbon monoxide and radon. According to House Method, other ways to make sure your indoor air is safe to breathe is to avoid the overuse of toxic cleaning products and pesticides, change out your air filter once every three months, and to invest in an air purifier.
- Create a safety plan
These days, every geographic area is vulnerable to some type of natural disaster. Knowing the risks posed in your specific climate is important for developing a viable safety plan for your home. Having designated meetup locations for loved ones and an emergency supply kit in a separate storage area away from your home is critical. Have a short list of contacts printed out in case you need to communicate with loved ones in the event of an emergency.
In the case of a power outage, take steps to protect perishable foods by relocating them in the freezer—this will take longer to warm up and keep your foods safe for longer. Store non-perishable sealed items with your emergency water supply and your emergency kit. Have a plan for securing the property and minimizing damage and consider how you will protect and manage your pets and livestock.
- Secure your home from intruders
Household members should be encouraged to develop safety habits that help lower the risk for crime, theft, vandalism, and home invasion. Enacting measures and habits to secure the home from strangers, even while present in the home, is critical to household safety. Secure doors and windows, have automatic lights that turn on when you’re away, and consider installing a security system with a speaker and camera included.
Getting a security system is helpful for protecting property and loved ones and technology is advancing enough that more affordable security options are available. Peel and stick alarms and sensors, easily installed wireless webcams, and solar- and battery-powered lighting and motion sensor systems are inexpensive and can be easily placed around the home. New keyless, coded locks and garage door openers are becoming more common and affordable as well.
There are many ways we can be blindsided by an unexpected event that threatens our security and property. The best way to minimize the risks and damage from such an event is to plan ahead. There will always be circumstances that cannot be anticipated, but a robust safety and security plan can help reduce the damage and stress that can result from an unfortunate event.