The forest fires in Fort McMurray were devastating. The fire itself wasn’t all that news worthy – forest fires are a natural part of the forest life cycle. But with tens of thousands of people evacuated and facing the very real truth of having no homes and businesses to return to, these fires were front page news. As long as natural disasters strike populated areas, we pay attention. But our attention span is short, and our memory selective. Now that the fires are out and the drama is gone, many of us have stopped talking about it. But should we? There are lessons to be had here that everyone should be talking about – even if you’re nowhere near Fort McMurray.
Whether or not the fires are the result of climate change is up for debate. But the unseasonably warm temperatures certainly didn’t help efforts in combating the flames. Natural disasters seem to have a way of reminding us how we, despite what we want to think, are not in charge. We’ve played our part in creating conditions for natural disasters to be more frequent, more severe, and more damaging. And now we must do our part to slow down the effects of climate change if we stand a chance at keeping the destruction somewhat manageable.
But the fact of the matter is, climate change has already happened and while we can slow it down, it cannot be reversed. While reducing our emissions is critical for our survival, so too is adaptation and resilience. And these are key to protecting the home that’s intended to protect you.
Buying, renting or renovating a home should involve more than aesthetics and size. Consider how resilient your home is in the event of an ice storm, flood, or power outage. Insurance companies are reanalyzing how they provide coverage given these uncertain times, so it’s not enough to just leave it up to your policy.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself to reduce the impact on you and your family should something happen. Are you prepared? What happens when the next natural disaster hits your area?
Here are questions you can ask yourself to help assess how ready you are:
- Do you have moisture problems in your basement?
- How can water enter and what damage can it cause?
- Are your windows or doors drafty in the winter?
- Do you have an alternate heat source in case the power goes out?
- Do you clear your gutters regularly?
- How long does your house stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer without power?
- Do you have brown outs regularly?
- Do you have an emergency plan and preparedness kit?
Identifying your weak areas can help protect the home you love and save you significant time and money when disaster strikes. Take some time this summer and create a plan that works for you – like an insurance policy, you hope you’ll never need it, but if you do you’ll be glad you made the investment.
Did you know that Green at Home offers in-home consultations to help assess your home’s resiliency and efficiency? Don’t get caught unprepared in the next blackout, ice storm, or flood. I can help you make some simple changes to significantly reduce the damage. Contact me to learn more!