National Emergency Preparedness Month: Tips to Fortify Your Home Before the Unexpected Occurs
Posted September 15th, 2022 by SimpliSafe
For many, September is a month of change. It’s hard to imagine adding more to this already-busy season, but it’s important not to overlook National Emergency Preparedness Month, a time to ensure your home is properly equipped for whatever situation is thrown your way. The good news is that preparing for emergencies doesn’t need to be a daunting task. In this blog post, we share some simple preparedness tips to get you started.
Familiarize yourself with local threats and resources available to you
2021 was quite a year. According to a study conducted by CoreLogic, about 1 in 10 homes were impacted by natural disasters last year. But these can look vastly different depending on your community. For example, if you live in Southern California, you likely don’t need to worry about blizzards and snow damage, but you may need to think about protecting your home from wildfires.
The Red Cross has great digital resources to help learn about possible disasters in your area – check it out here. Additionally, take time to speak with professionals and understand what you can do to protect your home. We recommend starting your research with a trusted source such as FEMA.gov, which offers information on a variety of natural emergencies, including wildfire actions and flooding preparation.
Look inward to threats within your own home
It’s equally important to consider what threats may be present within the walls of your home. Take a walk through your house, taking care to investigate areas that are most vulnerable to emergency events, such as basements, attics, kitchens, exterior doors and first-floor windows. Check for issues such as foundation damage, leaks, malfunctioning locks or dead fire alarms so that you can address minor issues before they require major repairs.
Equip your home
While the weather may not be in your control, there are a number of proactive actions you can take to mitigate risks within your home. Make sure to clean your gutters regularly (about twice a year) to prevent water damage, and caulk any foundation cracks, typically found on the floor and walls near a basement window, that could leave your home vulnerable to flooding. Investing in smart home technology is another simple way to keep tabs on your home. For example, if you have an unheated room with exposed pipes, such as a basement or attic, consider installing a water sensor to alert you to leaking pipes. If you have first-floor windows that are uncovered by foliage and are easily accessible from the outside, entry sensors can offer some added protection and assurance. Or, if you find yourself worrying about your smoke detector’s batteries, considering replacing it with one that is compatible with your smart home system, so you are alerted when the batteries get low.
Not only can smart home technology help detect and prevent home emergencies, but another added perk? It can give you savings on your insurance premium. Many carriers today, including Hippo and Branch, offer policyholders discounts if they have preventative smart home technology and professional monitoring in place.
There are a few housekeeping matters that will go a long way during an emergency.
Build an “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) list – including nearby family and friends
Add your local fire and police department numbers to your address book
Consider signing up for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)
Bolster your home security profile
Adding details about your household can better equip emergency responders before they arrive on the scene
Additionally, adding alternate secondary contacts can ensure that the right people are notified of emergency dispatch
In thinking about your network of “defense” in times of emergency, it’s worth considering how professional monitoring can help you and your family. SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring ensures your home is looked after 24/7 and that you get the proper emergency response during times of need.
Build a plan
You’ve educated yourself about threats in and outside of the home and taken proactive steps to mitigate damage, but what happens when an emergency actually strikes? During an emergency event, it’s important to have an action plan already in place.
Determine a secure meeting spot – whether it’s a community center or the nearest public school building, so if anyone is separated from the group during an emergency, they know where to go
Reach out to your ICE list– don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or shelter
Before reentering your home, assess for safety hazards – watch for broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, slippery floors, loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you notice any of these hazards or are unsure if your home is safe to reenter, contact a qualified building inspector
File a claim – document all damages before cleaning up and save all receipts from post-damage repair and clean-up, as many insurance providers can offer financial assistance
Though no one can predict if or when an emergency event will occur, preparing an action plan certainly helps ease anxieties. At SimpliSafe, it is our ultimate goal to enhance customers’ peace of mind, and we believe that there is no better time than the present to invest in your safety. Use National Emergency Preparedness Month not as an opportunity to worry about the unlikely, but as an opportunity to educate yourself and feel empowered that you have the tools and resources you need to address whatever emergency crosses your path.