With the recent Pacific Northwest wildfires still weighing heavy on our hearts, we wanted to provide tips on how to be prepared if the unthinkable happens again and you find yourself needing to safeguard or evacuate your home during a natural disaster.
Make sure your insurance policies are up-to-date and provide coverage for wildfire and flood damages. Double-check not only your homeowner’s insurance policy but your auto insurance as well. Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover damages to your vehicles. Make copies of your policies and keep them in an easily accessible location in case you need to leave quickly. Instead of keeping hardcopies, store them in a secure password-protected digital space where they are available at any time from any location.
We often overlook the importance of documenting your household possessions regularly. It’s important to have an up-to-date record of your items for any insurance claims you may have to make after a natural disaster. We all have a rough idea of our possessions but having digital evidence will provide a more accurate and detailed account. After a natural disaster, you may be in a stressed emotional state and it can be easy to overlook items. Best practice is to take photos and/or videos of your items quarterly as important items may come and go in your life.
Wildfires move fast and quickly, changing directions at a moment’s notice. It’s best to have a go-bag packed and ready so you can grab it quickly. Fill your go-bag with essential documents, keepsakes, valuables, medicines, toiletries, clothing and pet supplies. Best practice is putting the go-bag in the trunk of your car, so it’s ready to go when you are. Additionally, position and park your car forward out of the driveway.
To prevent damage during a flood, safely move furniture, rugs, electronics and other valuables to a higher level of the home. It’s simpler to move them now than filing an insurance claim to replace them.
Keep your cell phones charged. If possible, purchase backup charging devices to power electronics. You’ll need these to keep in touch and provide updates to family and friends when you’re on the move. If you use a laptop regularly for work or school, make sure its battery is charged as well. It may be a while before you can plugin.
Strengthen Your Home
If you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, follow these tips on ways to strengthen your home. Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property. Create a fire-resistant zone that is free of leaves, debris or flammable materials 30 feet from your home. Keep your roof and gutters clean throughout the year as an added precaution. If you can do so safely, turn off propane or natural gas and move propane outdoor grills away from the house and into the open. If you are staying in the home, reduce wildfire smoke by tightly closing all doors and windows, turn off fresh air intake on HVAC units, close the fireplace damper, run A/C with fresh air intake closed only, use a high-efficiency furnace filter and change frequently.
To safeguard your house against flooding and prevent pooling water around the base of the structure, grade your lawn to slope away from your house. Prep your home by applying coatings or sealants to your foundation, walls, windows and doors. This will help prevent floodwater from seeping through the cracks. If there’s a flood warning, use sandbags to block gaps for added protection.
We hope you don’t find yourself in the path of a natural disaster, but if you do being prepared can help elevate anxiety from an already stressful situation and keep your family safe. Most importantly, get yourself and others out of the path of the fires and out of the home during severe flooding. Go early, make an evacuation plan and ensure everyone in the household is familiar with the procedure.
If you have damage to your home, Simplicity Homes might be able to help. When you are ready to rebuild, contact us to find out the services we provide. As always, we will continue to do our part to Give As You Go™ – supporting local organizations that offer assistance and guidance to our communities affected by natural disasters.