Protecting Your Home from Natural Disasters

126 millimeters. That’s how much rain was seen by the city of Toronto during Monday’s unexpected severe thunderstorm that not only flooded streets and damaged homes, but also brought the city to a standstill. This much rain in a single day has not been seen in the city since Hurricane Hazel back in 1954. After Monday’s storm and the recent flooding in Calgary, it’s evident that weather systems are now shifting, with severe storms and natural disasters becoming more common. If they’re becoming more common, we should take steps now to protect our homes and businesses from the devastating effects. Here are some tips on how to protect your home or business from the devastating effects of these severe weather systems.

Fires

Fires are deadly and can move fast, engulfing a house in mere minutes. House fires can occur for a variety of reasons, from faulty electrical to a crack in the gas pipe. What can you do to protect your home?

  1. Have fire extinguishers present in rooms that have the highest chance of catching fire. Only use them for small, controllable fires and make sure to check the gauge every month.
  2. Make sure smoke detectors are present in every room on every floor of the house. Test to make sure they work and that everyone knows what it sounds like. Also, remember to replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
  3. Prepare and practice a home escape plan. Everyone should know how to exit the house, in case of a fire. Prepare a backup plan as well, just in case the original escape route does not work.
  4. Remove potted flowers, shrubs and dead plants close from the house. If these catch on fire, they can help ignite a structural house fire.

Floods

Over the last 10 years, the average cost of water damage claims have risen from $71.92 in 2002 to $15,500 in 2012, an increase of 117%. With this increase, water has become the new fire. Here’s how to protect your home from the costs of water damage

  1. When finishing a basement, make sure to first seal the exterior walls to prevent water from seeping into the rooms.
  2. Divert snow and water away from the house, making sure that it slopes away from the house to prevent water from seeping in
  3. Clear out gutters and make sure windows are free of debris. You want to make sure that water caught in these is able to flow out smoothly and not into your house.
  4. If your house has a drain pipe, use it. These are located in the basement and are very useful to help drain water that pours in and prevent water levels from rising.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes not only pack immense amounts of rain but also bring with it wind speeds strong enough to tear down a house. Here’s how you can limit the damage.

  1. Board up windows and doors. Don’t take a chance of your windows possibly breaking, and damaging the inside of your home.
  2. Make sure to prepare supplies for 72 hours, just in case of power outages.
  3. Store away outdoor furniture. This prevents it from getting lost in the storm or causing more damage to the exterior.
  4. Clear clogged rain gutters to prevent flooding of your home or business.
  5. Double check to make sure your roof is sturdy, secure and free of leaks. You don’t want it collapsing or flying off during a hurricane.