Preparing Your Home For Any Natural Disaster

How to Prepare Your Home For TornadoesBy Gabe Turner
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but there are a ton of things that can go wrong in life, whether it’s a landslide full of debris, a tornado or hurricane, or even extreme heat or cold, which could be deadly. That’s why it’s important to protect your home, not only with a home security system, but also from various types of disasters. But with so many different disasters, it can be hard exactly to know what to prepare for, and how to prepare.

This article will break down every type of disaster that could happen to you and your home in the United States, explaining exactly what the disaster is, how likely it is going to happen to you depending on where you live, and what exactly you can do to prepare your home. There’s no time like the present, so let’s get started!


How to Prepare Your Home For Tornadoes

Tornadoes aren’t just an issue in The Wizard of Oz. These rotating, funnel-like columns of air can happen anytime and anywhere, with winds of over 200 MPH. They won’t bring you to Munchkinland, though; rather, tornadoes can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create flying debris, creating dangerous conditions, according to the Department of Homeland Security website. Here’s how to prepare your home:

  • Identify a room in your house to go in during a tornado, ideally a small, windowless room in the basement. The fewer windows and doors, the better
  • For more protection, you can create a shelter that’s compatible with FEMA or ICC 500 standards, although it’s best to go to a mass shelter rather than stay at home, if you can avoid it
  • Put fire extinguishers and first-aid kits in your home shelter so that you’re supplied with any medical items you need, according to an article from Missouri Storm Aware
  • Clearly mark your utility switches and valves so that they can easily and quickly be turned off


Hurricane Season Dates
Hurricane Season Dates

Hurricanes are gigantic storm systems that move from warm oceans towards lands and can involve strong winds, rain, floods, tornadoes and landslides. You should look out for hurricanes from June 1st to November 30 if you’re near the Atlantic, and from May 15 through November 30 if you live near the Pacific. If you live on a United States coast and 100 miles inland, or a territory in the Atlantic of Pacific oceans, September is peak hurricane season, so it’s best to prepared beforehand:

  • Declutter drains and gutters
  • Check valves in plumbing to prevent backups
  • Install hurricane shutters

36 hours before a hurricane, be sure to:

  • Install sandbags, water pumps, and other loss avoidance measures, which could be covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program which provides affordable insurance to homeowners

18 to 36 hours before a hurricane, you can start to:

  • Bring any loose or lightweight objects inside, like outdoor furniture and garbage cans
  • Any items that you can’t bring inside, like propane tanks, make sure to anchor
  • Trim or remove nearby trees to prevent them from falling on your home
  • Install storm shutters, exterior grade of marine plywood over your windows

Six to 18 hours before a hurricane, you should:

  • Close all storm shutters and avoid windows
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer onto it’s coldest settings
  • Put a thermostat in your fridge and freezer so you can see what temperature it is when your power is back on. If it’s over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, throw your food out


Protecting Your Home From Earthquakes

Earthquakes are sudden and rapid shaking of the earth caused by movement of underground rocks. With severe earthquakes, buildings can collapse and heavy items can fall, killing or injuring people. Although earthquakes can happen anywhere, they are most likely to occur in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Mississippi Valley. Unfortunately, earthquakes don’t come with any warning signs and can cause even more natural disasters, from fires to landslides. Here are some tips to prepare:

  • Secure any objects on your walls, like bookcases, televisions, paintings, and refrigerators
  • Put any heavy and breakable items on your low shelves
  • Make sure you have an earthquake insurance policy, as this is typically not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance
  • Make sure the structural elements of your home are reinforced. You can do this by adding anchor bolts or steel plates between your home and it’s foundation, bracing your home’s cripple wall with sheathing as well as bracing unreinforced chimneys, foundations, masonry and concrete walls, according to an article from Military.Com


Floods happen when water temporarily overflows onto land, and they’re actually the most common natural disaster in the United States, resulting from rain, snow, dams, or any other overflowing of water systems. Floods can come with or without warning, causing power outages, damaging buildings, creating landslides, and disrupting transportation. What can you do to prepare your home from a flood?Protecting Your Home From Floods

  • Move valuables to higher levels
  • Declutter your drains and gutters
  • Install check valves and a battery-powered sump pump
  • Get flood insurance policy as soon as possible, as policies typically take 30 days to go into effect. Plus, like earthquake damage, damage from flooding is not covered in standard homeowner’s insurance (another great reason to use the National Flood Insurance Program)



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