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How to Protect Your Home From Future Disasters

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Release date: 
June 11, 2010
Release Number: 

Albany, N.Y. --By taking some common sense steps now, you can reduce damage to your home and property from high winds, flooding and fire, say state and federal emergency management officials.

Some steps are fairly simple and inexpensive, while others may require a professional contractor.

You can protect your home and possessions by taking the following actions:

  • Make sure that you have adequate insurance, which covers damage from fires, for your home and personal property.  You should also have flood insurance, which is available through  approximately 85 insurance companies in more than 20,800 participating communities nationwide.
  • Make an inventory of your possessions to help claim reimbursement in the event of loss or damage.  Store this information in a safe deposit box or other secure location to ensure the records survive a disaster. Include photographs or videos of your home’s interior and exterior, and cars, boats and other recreational vehicles. Get professional appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork or other items that may be difficult to evaluate. Make copies of receipts and canceled checks showing the cost of valuable items.
  • Store vital family records and other important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, social security card, passports, wills, deeds and  financial, insurance and immunization records in a safe deposit box or other safe location.
  • Make certain to backup and secure computer data and information files and store them on a separate disc.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves. Share this information with your family and/or caregivers.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home, especially near the bedrooms.
  • Be sure everyone knows how to use your fire extinguishers and where they are kept.

You can further reduce the risk of injury and damage by taking the next steps:

  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings and foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Use straps or other restraints to secure tall cabinets, bookshelves, large appliances (especially water heater, furnace, and refrigerator), mirrors, shelves, larges picture frames to wall studs.
  • Place oily rags or waste in covered metal cans and dispose of them according to regulations.
  • Have a professional repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Have a professional clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, connectors and gas vents.

For more information and help preparing for an emergency, visit and

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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