This article was previously published on September 16, 2014 and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Natural disasters are a force of nature that can leave devastating consequences. These events are something most people may never expect to impact them or their homes directly. However, it’s essential to always be prepared for one because the truth is they can happen to anyone and at any time.

Geography is a key factor in determining the likelihood of a natural disaster. Likewise, seasons play a significant role too, with most occurring during the summer and winter months. Even if you live in a less geographically impacted region, you should always be prepared for the worst, which is why we created a natural disaster preparedness checklist to help you better protect your family and your home.

How a Natural Disaster Can Impact Your Home

From forest fires to tropical storms, hurricanes, tornados, heat waves, and more, there are a wide range of natural disasters that happen all around the country and can have varying impacts. Here are some ways a natural disaster could impact your home.

1. Creates Power Outages

Mass power outages are among the most frequent effects from a natural disaster. We often associate a power outage to intense storms, such as tropical storms or tornados. However, heat waves are also common culprits of power outages, which could make your home potentially unlivable without proper AC and air flow.

Being left in the dark not only affects our daily routines but also compromises the security of our homes. Without functioning lights and security systems, our homes become vulnerable to intruders. Investing in a backup power source, such as a generator, is a proactive step to ensure critical systems remain operational during outages. A generator can keep your security system, lighting, and essential appliances running smoothly, maintaining a secure environment for your family.

2. Disables Communications

During natural disasters, communication networks often suffer disruptions, making it difficult to contact emergency services or stay connected with loved ones. In these situations, having alternative communication methods is crucial.

Consider investing in a battery-powered or hand-crank emergency radio, which can provide vital updates and information. Additionally, establish a family communication plan to ensure everyone knows how to connect with each other during emergencies.

3. Makes Emergency Services Unreachable

Natural disasters can overwhelm emergency services or render them unable to reach affected areas promptly. It's essential to be self-reliant and prepared for such scenarios. You should learn basic first aid and emergency response techniques to provide immediate assistance to your family members and neighbors until professional help arrives. You should also create a well-stocked emergency kit that includes all the essential emergency gear, which we will discuss in greater detail in the next section.

How to Build an Emergency Kit

It is a good idea to compile basic items you may need in an emergency ahead of time. It may be too late to do so once you receive warning of a natural disaster. You should allocate enough emergency supplies to last at least a week for everyone in your immediate party.

However, if you have the means to add supplies for additional days, we recommend doing it. Just remember, you may have to leave your home and travel during an emergency, so it could be difficult to take everything if you have too many supplies. It’s best to strike a balance with what you can carry if you need to make a quick exit.

Here’s what you should include in your emergency kit:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Non-perishable food (packaged or canned, and a non-electric can opener)
  • Battery powered radio, flashlights, and batteries
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • Medications, change of clothing, glasses
  • First aid kit
  • Dust mask (preferably N-95 masks)
  • Phone charger and external charging port
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet. (Here are additional tips to keep your pet safe during an emergency.)

Safeguarding Your Home in Case of an Emergency

In the face of natural disasters, it's crucial to protect your home against not only the direct impact of the disaster but also potential thefts and intrusions. Here are some effective measures to enhance your home security and family safety both during and after natural disasters.

  • Clearly Display Your Home Address: One often overlooked aspect of home security during emergencies is ensuring your home address is prominently displayed and visible from the street. A clearly visible street address enables emergency responders to locate your property quickly, potentially saving crucial time in critical situations.
  • Install an Emergency Generator: Installing an emergency generator is an investment that pays off during power outages caused by natural disasters. An automatic standby generator is an excellent choice as it seamlessly activates when the power goes out, ensuring uninterrupted security system functionality and keeping your home well-lit and protected.
  • Have a Water Pump for Flooding: Most homeowners should be prepared for potential flooding, especially those who live in low elevation or heavy rainfall areas. Installing a water pump or sump pump in your basement can help mitigate the impact of flooding. It’s important to regularly inspect and maintain the pump to ensure it operates effectively during emergencies. Water leak sensors can also notify you immediately if there’s a substantial water leak, so you can take quick action to mitigate damages.
  • Fortify Your Home with a Security System: A reliable home security system serves as a vital line of defense during natural disasters. When coupled with an emergency generator, you can ensure continuous surveillance and alarm monitoring of your home even during most natural disasters. These can be crucial particularly if you need to flee. You can continue to have eyes on your home from afar even during unprecedented times.

The Importance of Being Proactive in Case of an Emergency

Natural disasters and emergency situations can materialize with little-to-no warning. Preparing your home for these adverse events requires a comprehensive approach that combines disaster resilience with effective home security measures.

At Vector Security, our home security solutions can fortify your home's defenses and help ensure the safety of your loved ones even during times of crisis. Our team can work with you to determine the best course-of-action and solutions for your home.

Remember, in times of crisis, being prepared and maintaining a secure environment are paramount. By taking the necessary security steps and prioritizing home security, we’ll help you be better equipped to face any future challenges with confidence and resilience. Contact us to learn more about our home security solutions.