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Safe and Sound: How to Make a Disaster-Resistant Home

The year 2017 was a tough one for the United States in terms of climate. It suffered a total of 16 counts of billion-dollar natural disasters. These calamities caused the country a record $306 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The three major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) alone caused $265 billion worth of damage.

Harvey’s extreme rainfall caused historic flooding across Texas, which damaged over 200,000 homes and businesses. Irma, a category four hurricane, damaged over 65% of buildings in the Florida Keys with its severe winds. This damage cost over $50 billion. Maria, on the other hand, ravaged the Caribbean with both harsh winds and rainfall. It caused serious flooding and mudslides across Puerto Rico, which crippled the country’s major infrastructure.

Natural disasters are unavoidable, but you can always prepare for them. Improvements like home foundation upgrades can do wonders. Ask your contractor if they can make these changes to calamity-proof your home.

Brave the Hurricanes

If there’s anything to learn about 2017’s natural disasters, it’s that hurricanes can cost billions of dollars of damage to both homes and businesses. They carry winds that can reach 155 miles per hour, which is enough to blow a roof deck off. A roofing contractor can install hurricane clips that fasten your roof to your home’s walls. If a house has a gable roof, seal its openings to make sure air doesn’t come in.

Hurricanes can destroy a home from the inside by pumping and pulling wind out of your house. It usually happens if there’s an opening like a broken door or window. Seal your windows by adding storm shutters to them. You can also replace your door with impact-tested and wind-rated ones.

Resist the Wildfire

Mountain wildfire near a residential areaThe ponderosa and lodgepole forests are prone to fire. If you live near them, you need to consider making wildfire-defensible zones. Make sure your home is at least 10 to 12 feet away from any tree. Prune nearby tree branches to 10 feet above the ground. Make sure to mow grass and weeds regularly and always clear your property of pine needles and any wooden debris from pruning. Finally, make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy and plan out your escape routes, just in case.

Keep Steady in an Earthquake

Your home’s resistance depends on when it was built. If you live in a house that’s over 50 years old, you might want to have it inspected for cripple walls. These walls create a gap between your floor and the house’s foundation. If an earthquake hits, it could shift and collapse, causing injuries. The best way to remedy this is by having the cripple walls braced.

Check with your local government if you need to secure a permit for retrofitting. Once you get a permit, hire a flooring contractor to do the bracing for you. They’ll bolt boards of plywood to your foundation to make sure your floor is secure from damage caused by tremors.

Natural disasters are often unpredictable. Thanks to forecasts, however, you can prepare for the worst. Sure, the time, money, and effort that you invest in disaster-proofing your home might seem like too much right now. But you should never skimp on safety.

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