Home Security During Extreme Weather Conditions

Severe weather conditions occur throughout the U.S. in varying degrees; depending on where a person lives, harsh weather can mean strong winds, high heat, or torrential rain. The impact of this type of weather can be destructive in terms of loss of life and one's property and home. Fortunately, courtesy of advanced weather tracking systems, people are often able to reduce the negative impact of dangerous weather conditions by preparing for them in advance. Additionally, people now have the tools and the available knowledge to prepare their property for so that it remains safe and suffers minimal damage due to these conditions.

Tornado

There is very little that can be done when it comes to securing ones home against a tornado, particularly if the home is located in the direct path of the storm. Tornadoes involve winds that can reach 300 miles per hour and have the ability to turn objects into missiles and rip homes and buildings apart. People not in the direct path of a tornado can protect against the high winds by repairing any damage to their roofs and adding, in the initial construction phrase, roof fasteners and bolt the structure's walls to the foundation to help combat the extreme winds. Heavy items inside the home should be secured against the walls or placed on lower shelves, where they cannot fall and potentially hurt anyone. Building a safe room inside the home may not protect the structure, but it can help save the owner and any valuables that are stored within it. Safe rooms can be an expensive investment; however, they are one's safest bet during a tornado.

Hurricane

Hurricanes threaten homes due to high winds and the risk of flooding. When living in an area that is known for hurricane activity, make certain to regularly trim trees and shrubs to reduce the amount of branches, twigs, and potential debris that may break windows and fly into the home. Board up the windows in the home using plywood or preferably install storm shutters; this will help keep wind and rain from the home and prevent wind from creating a buildup of pressure that can damage the house.

Doors should also be securely locked, using more than one locking mechanism, as this will prevent wind and rain from pushing the doors open during the storm. The roof may be strapped using hurricane straps or enforced using clips to help ensure that it stays in place during the storm. In addition to strapping the roof, homeowners should take action to brace or support the garage door as well. When a hurricane is expected, homeowners should also shut the gas and electricity off.

Monsoons and Flooding

Heavy torrential rains are just one of the reasons why an area may experience flooding. The waters from flooding can severally damage one's home if preventative measures are not taken. Raising items above flood level is a start when it comes to home safety. Electrical components such as the home's circuit breakers, electrical sockets, and the home's water heater, furnace and washer and dryer should be raised, so that they are at least inches above what is the assumed flood elevation. For the heavy appliances cement blocks may be used to lift them adequately. Fuel tanks should be anchored in place and battery-powered backups to sump pump should be installed. The placement of sand bags around the property can also serve as a defense against flood water.

Hail

Homes are most likely to suffer damage to their roofs during a hailstorm. While there isn't much that one can do, maintaining the roof and replacing it if necessary is one way to keep the home safe. The replacement roof must be made of materials that can withstand the impact of fast-moving and occasionally large hailstones. The most effective type of shingle is made of asphalt, followed by metal shingles. Shingles should be rated appropriately based on their impact resistance; therefore, asphalt shingles with a class 4 UL 2218 rating are advisable. This rating means that the roofing material resists cracking under the double impact of a steel ball during testing.

Blizzard and Ice Storm

Blizzard and ice storms can cause a number of problems for one's home, from water damage to structural damage to the roof. Check the roof frequently and remove any foreign debris that may prevent proper drainage. Water damage to the interior of one's home can be caused by ice dams that prevent water from falling off of one's roof. As a result water can back up and enter the attic. To prevent this from occurring, make certain that the attic is well insulated and that any heat sources in the attic are removed. When replacing the roof of a home, people who live in areas that experience blizzard-like conditions should have a barrier installed that will prevent moisture, snow and ice from causing these types of problems.

To prevent heavy snowfall from damaging the integrity of the roof and potentially causing a collapse, routinely check and remove ice and snow using a roof or snow rake if it begins to exceed one foot. Once the snow has been removed, melt the ice using either a chemical de-icer or heating cables. In some cases, a homeowner may need to call a professional to remove the snow and ice. The rake may also be used to remove an ice dam if it has begun to form. In addition, ice can also damage pipes and cause ruptures. According to Ready.gov, pipes can be kept from freezing by allowing a small amount of water to trickle through. Wrapping pipes with plastic and newspapers is another way to minimize the problems associated with freezing.

Heat Wave and Drought

Drought and high heat can be a dangerous combination. Fires, particularly wildfires, are a high risk during these conditions and pose a threat to the safety of homes. To help keep homes safe, homeowners will want to remove anything that can prove flammable from around their property. They can do this by removing vegetation and landscaping that has a high risk of catching on fire. This can be replaced with fire resistant plants that can withstand drought or people may choose to replace vegetation with gravel, a rock garden, or a small pond.

Woodpiles, shrubs and trees should be reduced and kept at least thirty feet from the home. Regularly mow lawns to keep them low and keep trees trimmed so that branches are no less than six feet from the ground. During excessively hot weather and/or drought, keep the roof clean of leaves and other dry, flammable debris.

Also for the sake of safety, there should be a garden hose attached to the home in the event that a fire nears the property. In addition to fire, drought may also damage homes by causing the foundation to crack. This occurs as a result of soil shifting as trees attempt to draw moisture deep from the soil. This typically happens with older trees and will cause tell-tale signs like cracks in the ground. Increased watering, as much as fifteen minutes, twice daily, can be helpful in preventing this problem and the resulting damage that it causes.

Dust Storm

During a dust storm, the key to keeping one's home and property safe from damage is to keep as much dust and debris out of the home as possible. Dust can get into sensitive objects such as computers and other electronics. In addition it can damage furniture and air conditioning systems. Start by placing duct tape around the outside of all windows and doors prior to the onset of the storm. Go to all vents, particularly those in the attic, and place covers over them. Turn off the air conditioning and close all of the doors and windows in the home until the storm passes. For added protection, place plastic over sensitive equipment in the event that dust makes its way into the home.