Earthquakes shook both coasts, wildfires scorched southern California, a hurricane shut down the nation’s capital, hail rained down in the southwest and deadly windstorms blew chaos across several Midwestern states.
Across the United States in 2003, natural disasters came in all shapes and sizes, killing scores of people and costing more than $10.5 billion in insured losses.
But not all natural disasters have to be devastating. With proper planning, 2004 can be a safer and happier new year, despite what nature has in store.
The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) said the public should consider these resolutions to improve the chance of their home or business resisting damage or disaster in the New Year.
1. This winter, don’t let snow build up on the downwind side of a higher-level roof. To avoid water damage, remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Ventilate the attic to maintain a temperature close to that of the outdoors and minimize the risk of ice dams forming.
2. When it’s time for a new roof, choose products that are rated to withstand hail damage (Underwriters Laboratories’ 2218 Class 3 or 4 standard) and high wind. If one lives in a heavily treed area, it should resist fire as well.
3. If one is going to build a new home, consider making it disaster- resistant from the ground-up, as in the IBHS “Fortified . . . for safer living” program.
4. If one has a small business or work from home, even a power outage can close them down for days. Improve the chance of staying in business with pre- and post-disaster plans, found in the IBHS “Open for Business Toolkit.”
Visit www.disastersafety.org for more information.
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