Accidents and damage pose a risk to homeowners at any time, but preparing for heavy rains, flooding, fires and high winds is likely to be especially challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While many preparedness steps will be the same, some may require a different approach while COVID-19 remains a concern. Here are three things to consider as part of your natural preparedness planning:
Safely Use Contractors
Recovery often requires you to use contractors. Ask contractors about their COVID-19 related health and safety practices. If you’re not comfortable with their precautions, consider alternatives.
When contractors visit your property, be careful to follow best practices for protecting your family from the risk of infection; You should also inform your contractor if you or anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for the illness.
If possible, arrange to pay your bill online or via mail to avoid close contact.
Consider that disruptions to supply chains caused by the virus may make it more difficult to get the equipment and supplies you need to protect your home and family. Purchase or order the items you’ll need as soon as possible.
Update Your Emergency Kit
Every household should have a portable emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice. In normal times, your kit would include essential items such as a torch, non-perishable food, and bottled water. For the COVID-19 pandemic, update your emergency kit to include personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and hand sanitizer.
Have and rehearse a fire evacuation plan
We rarely think about fires and having an evacuation plan. But it’s worth thinking ahead and planning for this. Cooking, heating, smoking, faulty electrics, candles all can cause fires at home. Ensure you install smoke alarms in each sleeping room and every level of a home. Test your smoke alarms to know they work! Know your homes exits and have a plan about how you would exit your home. If you have little children rehearse your plan with them. Ensure your windows can open easily. If they have security bars, ensure there is an easy release for them. Make it a habit to close your internal doors, closed doors slow the spread of smoke , heat and fire. If the worst happens, once you're out of a burning home - stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.