Prepare Your Home for Disaster


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HomeDisaster1In 2012, a father of ten living in South Carolina built a medieval-style castle complete with a drawbridge and an underground bunker.  He claims his masterpiece was built to outlast the impact of the world’s most devastating disasters, thus landing its name The Doomsday Castle.  While this may seem a little unorthodox, at the very least it serves as a reminder that every family should take steps to be fully prepared for an emergency. Using the five safety tips below, learn how you can better prepare your home and protect your loved ones before disaster strikes!

 

Know the Risks & Plan Ahead:  Risks can range anywhere from natural disasters to modern-day terrorism, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential risks in your area. Once you’ve done this, bring your loved ones together to discuss your family’s emergency planHomeDisaster2 and create a checklist.  The checklist should include only the necessities:  survival equipment and tasks for each family member to be responsible for during an emergency.  Lastly, contact your local police department and find out if the Smart911 service is available in your area.

Secure Your Furniture:
Windows: To protect windows from strong winds and flying debris, cover them with plywood panels or shatter-resistant film.   Ensure every window has a durable lock and emergency release bar.  Should you need to escape through the window, keep foldable escape ladders on the upper floor near the windows.  Lastly, arrange each room so the windows are a safe distance from the beds and chairs.

Top-Heavy Furniture: Top-heavy objects such as tall bookcases and flat screen televisions should be anchored to the wall to prevent them from tipping over.  Refrigerators also have the potential to become hazards if they are not properly secured in place.

Overhead Objects: To prevent picture frames and decorations from falling and potentially injuring someone, be sure to use closed-hook hangers. Avoid hanging heavy objects above beds and sofas all together.

Utilities: Talk with an expert about the utilities in your residence.  It is very important that everyone in your home is capable of turning off the utilities in critical situations.

HomeDisaster3Install Security Devices:  In-home security devices can be relatively inexpensive and have the potential to save lives. Start by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home.  Meanwhile, keep a small extinguisher handy in a common area and teach all members of the household how to use it.  Another helpful device is the sump pump alarm. This alarm is designed to detect and alert you of rising water levels, thus allowing you to act quickly in the event of a flash flood.

Locate the Safest Place in Your Home:  Every year, natural disasters kill an average of 400 people while greatly affecting 868,000 others in the United States alone.  These numbers are a sobering reminder of why it is so important to have a plan for every possible scenario, especially the ones where you are unable to evacuate or find underground shelter.

For disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes and radiation emergencies, the safest place in your home is the area lowest to the ground and furthest from hazardous objects, such as tall furniture or glass. During a flash flood, however, it is very important that you get to higher ground as soon as possible. In either case, assemble a survival kit built to last at least 72-hours and keep it stored in the safe area or shelter in your home.

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