Natural disasters happen almost everywhere around the planet, and they come in different forms. When it comes to these, you can count on the saying 'there is no place like home'. At least at home, you know you’re going to have some control, unlike somewhere else, such as a shelter. While there are certain circumstances where it’s strongly recommended that people flee to a community shelter such as a fire department, sometimes you can be just as safe at home.
For example, when you’re at home, you can have tools to keep you and your family safe such as the best indoor generator for your home. But other than generators, what else will you need in order to stay safe? Here is everything you need to know!
A natural disaster can be devastating to people's lives and property. Having a plan and knowing what to do when one occurs is crucial to keeping yourself safe, but it’s not entirely a one-size-fits-all when it comes to natural disasters. There are times in which you’re going to be safer at home, while there are others, such as wildfires and volcanic eruptions, where you’re better off just fleeing. So, here are some of the different types where you may be able to stay at home.
Sometimes, you may be safer staying at home, but it’s going to heavily depend on the circumstances, such as how the floods are affecting your area and whether or not you live on a hill. Flooding is one of the most common and dangerous natural disasters. It can occur after a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, especially in flash floods. Even six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. You need to get on higher ground, so ask yourself if this is an option and if your home is even on high ground.
Since the effects of hurricanes can last up to multiple weeks, it’s strongly recommended to flee the area if you're in its path, and even if you’re going to be somewhat close, it’s still recommended to flee the area from the eye of the storm. While many people still choose to stay in their homes during a hurricane, this is an option that you shouldn’t do. Hurricanes bring multiple effects, from no electricity, flying debris, damaged homes, and floods, and they can go far beyond that. You’re not entirely guaranteed to stay safe even if your home has a generator, food, and water.
Since earthquakes happen unexpectedly (though sometimes there are warnings), you will be limited in what you can do. You can take precautions to stay safe in your home if they happen. Just make sure that heavy and breakable items such as glass are not high on a shelf where they can hit someone on the head. If you have bookshelves, then it would be recommended to have those bolted to the ground.
A tornado may occur unexpectedly, but there are things you can do to keep yourself safe during a natural disaster. One of the best ways to do that is to develop safety plans. The safest place to shelter during a tornado is below-ground, like a basement or storm cellar, if you have that option. If you don’t have a basement, get to an interior room that doesn’t have windows.
While basements and cellars are going to be the best way to keep yourself safe, if you lack these and there is a shelter nearby, such as a community-based shelter, then you need to go there if you can. You should also avoid taking shelter in areas with heavy objects above you, such as pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, or tubs. These objects could fall through the floor and hit you.
In order to stay safe during natural disasters, it’s strongly recommended to have a plan in advance. But to have a proper plan so you can feel confident that you’re going to be safe, it’s all going to be up to what you check. Ideally, some things in your home need to be checked periodically, so doing so far in advance of a storm is wise. However, when you know a natural disaster is on it's way, or if you're in the midst of it, certain things should still be checked again, just in case. So, when it comes to checking your home, here are some things you’ll want to look into.
One of the most important steps to keep safe during a natural disaster is checking your electrical system. A faulty electrical system can cause fires, property destruction, and even death. During an electrical safety inspection, look for frayed and tangled wires. These can be the result of pests and poor electrical work. Using a voltage tester, test outlets to determine the cause of any issues you find. If there is no underlying problem, you should be able to use the outlet normally.
If there is an issue, and it is likely a problem with the outlet or wiring, you should call a professional electrician to take a closer look at the issue. You might be surprised that if you have a frayed electrical system during harsh thunderstorms, it will only get worse. Even if you’re planning on getting a generator, you’ll still need a good electrical system.
Fire extinguishers are a valuable tool to have in any home. They’re easy to use and should be located near exits and in areas where fires are most common. Check your fire extinguishers regularly and have them inspected by a professional at least once a year. In addition, make sure you know their expiration dates so you can replace them as needed. You might be surprised how quickly and easily fires ignite (unexpectedly) during natural disasters, so it’s best to play it safe and have one or two in your home.
During storms, debris can be thrown onto your roof, including small tree branches and much larger wind-borne projectiles. These can impact your shingles, weakening their structure and allowing moisture to penetrate into your home. The best way to spot these problems is to inspect your roof.
Most professionals recommend performing this twice a year. Inspect the flashings around chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes to ensure they’re intact. If they’re damaged, water can enter the interior of your home and rot your roof and walls. During a natural disaster, it’s important to check your roof as quickly as possible. This can save you money and prevent long-term damage to your home.
During times of flooding or heavy rain, water can damage your foundation and even shift the soil around it. This is especially true for properties located on expansive soils, like clay, which expand when they come into contact with water. While a small amount of shifting is normal, major shifts or settling over a short period of time may indicate a foundation issue. Another indication that something is wrong is a slanted floor, particularly in the case of concrete slab or pier and beam foundations.
A professional inspection of your home’s foundation will examine the perimeter and the piers, beams, and joists of your structure. They will also look inside for cracks and fissures. This will help you identify potential foundation problems early and avoid costly repairs later on. This is something that will obviously need to be done either far before or after a natural disaster.
In general, it’s so important to stay safe during natural disasters, but you should also know when it’s best to stay at home versus when it’s best to seek shelter elsewhere. Overall, there are different ways to keep yourself safe during a natural disaster, even at times right in your home, but it’s going to be all about staying prepared.
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