How to Prepare for Home Emergencies

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From earthquakes to fires and floods, emergencies can be disastrous and disruptive. Whether it’s caused by weather or technical failure, you can reduce its effects. Here are four home emergencies and how to prepare for them:

Power Outages

In 2018, the Salt Lake Tribune published a letter by a lifelong Utahn complaining about the seven outages they experienced each year. Whether the outage is caused by an earthquake or maintenance work, you can avoid or reduce it. Using a home battery, you can get 12 to 15 hours of uninterrupted electricity depending on your usage. Besides a being backup energy source, it can also reduce your electricity cost and carbon footprint. It works by harvesting sunlight during the day and using solar energy during peak hours. Also, make sure to always have a fully charged flashlight and limit the times you open your fridge.

Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires in the kitchen are the leading cause of home fires. You can avoid an accident by checking if your smoke alarm is working correctly. Read the manual on its proper maintenance and test it frequently. If the sound is weak, replace the batteries or the model itself.

The simplest way to prevent fires without buying anything is by being alert. If the phone rings or your kid calls your name, turn off the stove. Keep things that can burn, such as mitts and curtains, away from the heat. In case of grease fires, remember not to use water to extinguish the fire. You can use salt or baking soda if the fire is small and manageable. For large fires, leave the room, close the door, and call 911.

Floods

While Utah is known for its dry desert climate, floods are a common occurrence across the state. For major floods, look for a safe retreat and prepare your things. If you have pets, ask your family or friends for help because animals aren’t accepted in shelters. Consider getting flood insurance to cover the house’s foundations and your things. For heavy rains, you can prepare in advance by cleaning out your gutter and downspouts. If clogged, they can damage your basement and your home’s foundations. Check if all shingles aren’t worn out or missing. If they are, you can fix the roof by yourself.

To properly prepare for any kind of emergency or disaster, you must be informed. Download apps such as FEMA and Red Cross so that you can be notified of potential severe weather events. Make sure that the notification settings for each app are on so that you can have as much time as possible to prepare. The apps also include information on checklists for kits and nearby shelters.

While natural events such as earthquakes and heavy rains are unavoidable, their effects can be mitigated. Avoid optimism bias or thinking that some events won’t affect you. Research how you can best prepare for fires and floods. Ask your neighbors for their opinions on insurance providers and emergency plans. You can get through an emergency by remaining calm and following a plan.

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