Disasters seem to impact our lives on a more regular basis than ever before. They can range from minor events that cause some damage to property to major disasters that cost millions of dollars and sometimes even take a toll in human lives.

While it is impossible to be prepared for every eventuality, you can minimize the risk of damage to your home with a few simple steps.

If you are in a situation where you know that you will be leaving your home unattended and there is a risk for damaging weather conditions, as long as it is safe to do so, take these steps:

  • Turn off your water. You can turn off the main water supply if you are familiar with where it is located, but otherwise you can turn of the valve by each sink, toilet and other appliance with a water-supply.
  • Turn off your electricity. In your main panel, find the switch marked “main” and turn it off. For an older fuse panel, there should be either a handle or a fuse marked main. Do the same in your sub-panels.
  • Turn off your gas. Same as with water, there should be a valve by each appliance, and there should be a main valve near your gas-meter.
  • Lock up. Since looting is a common occurrence during disasters, locking doors and windows is very important. The only exception to this is during a tornado where you might get over-pressure if everything is closed up too tightly. In that case you might want to leave some windows cracked open.

It is always a good idea to take the time to make a plan for how you will act when disaster strikes, and even have a drill together with your family.

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