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Home Improvement and DIY

Home Ownership 101: How To Prepare For Home Emergencies And Disasters

 

A couple of years ago a friend of mine  lost her home and all it’s contents in a house fire. Luckily the family was unharmed, and she and her husband have since built a new home, but it was still  so heartbreaking to watch her go through such an ordeal. The event was also an eye opener, as I realized that disasters can strike at any time.

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A Blue Nest

 

Jordan’s loss really made me start thinking about emergency preparedness and how to be ready for the various disasters that can affect our home which can leave us in difficult situations both financially and logistically. Even a small disaster may end up in needing a larger home restoration. So while it is not a “fun” topic for a blog post, I think it is a necessary one for all homeowners.

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You might find that after a disaster your home is no longer a suitable place to live and instead you’ll have to make other arrangements. It’s possible that that cost of fixing a home disaster is far beyond what you can afford. The good news? There are a variety of ways that you can deal with any disaster that you might experience at your home whether it is a flood, theft, a fire, or storm damage. 

Of course most people are aware of taking important safety precautions like installing fire alarms and security systems, but let’s look at some of the other ways to prepare for home emergencies and disasters that may strike at any time. Having a safety guide to childproofing is vital for parents. However, even non-parents should take precautions. Adding smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire safety doors are just three examples. Check every room. 

 

Heat

Not a lot of people think about heat as being something which can damage their home. In reality, though, hot weather makes wildfires far more likely, and most buildings can’t deal with fires very well. Along with fire, heat will also make things like tarmac melt. This can cause huge potholes and other damage to the outside areas of your place. Using water to cool things down can be a good idea if you’re not experiencing limited water supplies.

Cold

Cold weather can be even more damaging than heat when people aren’t prepared for it. When water freezes in the pipes around your home, it will expand, pushing against the pipes and eventually causing them to burst or leak. It can be hard to figure out where the damage has been done when the weather is still cold, and a plumber will often have to wait until the weather is warmer before they can fix it for you. Still, if you need a basement flood cleanup company or a plumber to help fix a leak, be sure to call right away.  You can insulate your pipes to prevent this problem, though you may want to look at enclosing them entirely if you live somewhere very cold.

 

Gutter Issues

 A combination of rain, snow, and falling leaves is going to end up filling up your gutters with all kinds of gunk that you really don’t want building up, so be sure to make sure they are free of debris at all times. If you neglect your gutters then you could end up with flooding from your drains.

 

Landscaping Issues and 

Of course, though, that wouldn’t need to be said if there weren’t those which can damage your home. Large plants, like Cherry Trees, often have extremely long and powerful roots. These can burrow beneath your home, causing damage to its foundations and causing it to start to sink into the ground. This can be very expensive to fix, and many people don’t even notice it happening. Also, if you have a lot of trees or debris on your property you can end up with pests problems such as termites. Getting rid of insects can be tricky, and you will probably have to call an exterminator if things get out of hand.  

 

 

Preparing for Home Disasters and Emergencies

Establish A Savings Account

This may seem like common sense, but many people do not have any extra money in savings. For people who have health issues or are on limited incomes, savings accounts are often used to make ends meet. Others may use savings to do large home improvement renovations or take vacations, and then start over once the savings have been spent. Nevertheless, establishing and keeping ample savings should be a top priority for all homeowners.

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In the event of an emergency or disaster, some insurance companies have a thirty day waiting period before funds are released. A savings can cover hotel stays and basic food and necessities during that waiting period. Even if it means giving up one $5 latte a week, a little savings can go a long way in the first few weeks after a disaster.

 

Purchase Extra Insurance Coverage

Most homeowners purchase only the basic coverage required by the mortgage company when buying a new home, but this may not really be enough to cover all of the replacement costs. It is important to really sit down with your insurance provider to make sure you have the  right cover for a full home replacement (rebuild and land value) and content costs are fully covered in the event of a fire, theft, or other disaster. Finding the best home insurance package is a particularly important step.

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Many standard home insurance policies provide coverage for disasters such as fire, lightening and hurricanes. Unfortunately, they don’t cover flooding.  You should be sure to purchase flood insurance which covers the structure of your house and it’s contents.  The federal government has a National Flood Insurance Program (www.floodsmart.gov) that you can check out. You can also use the same agent or company you have chosen for your standard home or renter’s insurance. Make sure to purchase flood insurance for the structure of your house, as well as for the contents. Of course, if you want a totally stress-free claim, then one of the options you can choose is the employ the likes of the best public adjuster who will work on your behalf directly with the insurance company.  

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In order to ensure you have proper coverage, it is important to take a home inventory. This inventory will contain the estimated replacement cost of every item you own if they are ever stolen or destroyed by a disaster. Consider purchasing a firebox for important papers including your home inventory and other important papers. Of course you can also use various apps on your computer to store your home inventory list.

Get the Right Cover

Ensure you have obtained the right cover in the first place. This means doing your homework at the start of the process. Researching the types of cover on the market and getting the best deal you can afford. This is where it’s helpful to have a conversation with an insurance agent who will be able to offer you quotes from various companies.

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Your possessions can be covered by the actual cash value or replacement cost. The actual cash value coverage pays the cost of replacing your belongings with account for depreciation. Replacement cost coverage will reimburse  the total current cost of your belongings.

 

Mitigating Future Problems

If your home has been damaged due to the storm, one of the first things that you need to do is figure out the extent of the issue. It’s possible that the storm has caused very little damage, but it’s also possible that it has taken sizeable chunks out of your roof. A few years ago our city had a massive hail storm which only lasted a few minutes but caused millions in damages. We could not see any areas where our roof was damaged. However, once the roofing companies began inspecting all of the local homes for damages, we found that there were significant marble sized holes all over our roof that would expand in time to larger golf ball sized holes causing leaks.

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We ended up having to have our entire roof replaced. Whenever there is a significant storm, you should get a full roof inspection by an expert. If there is an issue, they can then set up the process of repairing it for you. If you have a hail storm or wind storm, it is very important to have the roof checked asap. Luckily there are some simple steps you can take to help protect your home from water damage. Simply keeping gutters free of debris and using an epoxy and masonry sealer to fill cracks and gaps can go along way in helping to prevent water from seeping in. 

 

More Water Woes

What if you find that that you have had an issue with flooding in your home, even from a leak that has gone unnoticed? It may be necessary to contact a reputable company specializing in water damage restoration.

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you will have an additional set of issues, especially when it comes wind and flooding. ou should think about what you can do to protect your home against high winds as best as you can. If you navigate to this site, you should see one example of what steps you can take: installing hurricane doors to keep even the fastest and strongest winds out.  Hurricanes can cause massive water damage to a home, and since there are many common sump pump problems restoration can be slow. This makes it worth investing in sandbags, door seals, and as many other tools as possible to keep your house from being taken over by water. 

 

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Flooding a problem because it builds on the outside of the home, pushing against the foundations causing issues like dampness. You might even go downstairs one day and discover that your basement is completely submerged. If that’s the case, then you will need to pump the water out. For some damage done to water line or pipe breaks, local plumbers can help. Once the water is cleared, you will probably notice a substantial amount of damage to the walls and almost certainly problems like black mold. According to sites like Trillink,  with the right service, you’ll be able to fix these problems in now time. The main problem with water damage is cost. As mentioned above, make sure you have proper insurance coverage.  *Note: DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH MOLD. IT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS LONG TERM HEALTH CONSEQUENCES. IF YOU SUSPECT BLACK MOLD, IMMEDIATELY LEAVE THE PREMISES UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD YOUR HOME INSPECTED AND DEEMED SAFE TO RETURN.

 

Emergency Preparedness Checklist

While all of these tips may seem overwhelming at first, it can help to make a simple emergency preparedness list. Simply having  a small suitcase of extra clothing and basic necessities stored at a family member or friend’s home can help alleviate stress. And be sure to buy a flashlight and keep it close by at all times. It is one of the most handy items in an emergency!

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Create a check list of important things to do and check them off one at a time. In this way you will be one step closer to being prepared in the event that an unthinkable disaster should strike your home sweet home. And remember: lightning storms can cause fire, so you should also check your fire and smoke alarms, and replace them and their batteries where necessary.

 

I hope that you have found this post informative. Hopefully none of us will ever have to face any of these unfortunate circumstances. I am so inspired by how my friend has pushed forward and their family has rebuilt their life. Even a couple of years later, there are still things that they have not been able to replace. Lastly, should you face any home disasters, remember that it is so important not to panic! Read here for some tips and tricks when it comes to staying calm.

Thank you all for visiting today. Be safe, and be prepared!

Amber

 

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