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Disaster Strikes! How To Cope With Unexpected Incidents At Home

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Your home should be your haven. Sadly, life doesn’t always go to plan, and sometimes, you can find yourself in the middle of a disaster zone with no prior warning. Even the most diligent homeowner can never predict what’s around the corner, and it’s not always possible to prevent accidents and unexpected incidents. Here are some of the most common home disasters and some tips to help you cope if life throws you a curveball.

Fire

Did you know that more than 3,200 lives were lost to fires in the USA in 2015 alone? Housefires are something most of us dread. There’s nothing scarier than finding yourself in a situation where there are flames all around you, and everything you’ve worked for is at risk of melting away. Fires in the home are most commonly caused by kitchen accidents, such as leaving pans boiling over, and by soft furnishings catching fire. If you leave candles burning or cigarette butts lying around, for example, there is a risk of fire if a cushion cover, a sheet or a towel comes into contact with the flame. Fires can also be caused by leaving electrical appliances, such as hair straighteners, plugged in, and by faulty wiring and appliances. It’s not always possible to prevent fires, but there are many steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your home.

It’s always a good idea to have a fire blanket and an extinguisher at home, just in case a fire breaks out. It’s also imperative to keep an eye on pots and pans when you’re cooking and to avoid leaving candles burning when you’re not in the room. Supervise children at all times, ensure any electrical appliances are safety checked on a regular basis and smoke outside. If you’re using gadgets and gizmos, ensure that you switch them off at the socket. One of the most important jobs for homeowners is to check smoke detectors on a regular basis. Having working smoke detectors at home can make the difference between life and death.

If you smell smoke or you spot flames, call the emergency services and get out of the building. If it’s a very small fire, you can attempt to suffocate the flames with a fire blanket, but don’t hang around if the fire is already raging.

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Flooding

Flooding is a major issue for homeowners in the US. Did you know that the USA experienced more floods in 2016 than in any other year on record? If you live near a floodplain or your home is located in an area, which is subjected to storms or extreme weather conditions, it’s a good idea to try and strengthen your home’s defenses and to make sure you know what to do if your home is affected by flooding or water damage. If torrential rain has caused your home to flood, click to learn more about urgent restoration services. The quicker you tackle rising water levels, the better. To try and minimize the impact of heavy or prolonged rainfall, consider using flood-resistant building materials and laying out sandbags. Prepare for adverse weather in advance by moving valuable items upstairs, stocking up on non-perishable food items and bottled water and cutting off the electricity and gas supply. Listen out for weather warnings and heed advice from the authorities. If you’re advised to move, don’t try and tough it out and hope for the best. If your home is prone to flooding, check your insurance policy carefully. You may need to take out additional cover to protect you against flood damage.  

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Theft

Nobody ever wants to think about the prospect of somebody breaking into their home and stealing their possessions. The reality is that burglaries do happen. Even if you live in the most pleasant neighborhood in town, there’s no guarantee that your home won’t be targeted by opportunistic thieves. If your home is broken into, contact the police, try not to touch anything and write down everything you know about the incident. If you have insurance, your belongings should be covered, but it may take some time to process the claim.

Prevention is always better than cure, and it’s beneficial to take steps to fortify your home and make it less of a target for burglars. Always lock doors and windows, don’t leave valuables in view of the windows, and make it look like somebody is home, even if you’re out. You can do this by leaving a light on, for example. Deterrents can be really effective, so consider beefing up your security with outdoor lights, fencing or a gate, an alarm system and CCTV. Even simple, budget-friendly methods like a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can make thieves think twice. If you’re going away, ask your neighbors to collect the mail and park in your driveway from time to time, and cancel milk or newspaper deliveries. Take care when posting on social media. You don’t want to unwittingly extend an open invitation. Adjust your privacy settings before you tag yourself at the airport or share photos of exotic beaches or powdery slopes.

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Storm damage

It’s impossible to control the weather. One day the skies can be blue and the sun shining. The next, you hear a warning on the radio for torrential rain and strong winds. Storms and hurricanes can cause widespread damage to properties, business premises and public buildings, and if you’re in the eye of the storm, there’s very little you can do. Always put your safety first and try and remember that material possessions are replaceable. Stay safe, make sure your home is insured and get out of town if you’ve been advised to do so. If you return home to flooding, missing roof tiles, broken fencing or walls that appear to have crumbled, contact your insurance provider and get in touch with local firms to get some quotes for repairs and restorative services.

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For many of us, there’s no place like home. Unfortunately, nobody knows what’s around the corner, and there’s always a risk of disaster hanging in the air. Hopefully, this guide will help you protect your home and make sure you’re equipped to deal with the aftermath if disaster does strike.

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