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Whether you believe in climate change or not, one thing is abundantly clear: we’re witnessing some pretty weird weather lately. Crazy temperatures, heavy storms, wild winds – it’s getting harder and harder to know what to expect out of a season.
While the immediate hazards associated to this kind of events are (sometimes) easier to manage, the aftermath ones have the potential to be way more damaging. Let’s take flood waters consequences for example: pathogen agents impact the (human) immunity system without exception. They do take some time to work their ‘magic’ but the result is the same as with any body aggressor: hospitalization.
How about less drastic circumstances, in our own homes for instance? There’s still mold, bacteria and dampness that we need to safeguard from if we want to spare ourselves future doctor’s appointments. And physical health may not be the only stake here; statistics have shown that post-traumatic stress disorder is real and additionally ‘fueled’ in intervals that precede a flood cleanup.
No matter how out of control these events seem to be though, the situation is not necessarily desperate. Compared with, say fifty years ago, we’ve developed quite a large self-help toolbox. Forecasting accuracy has significantly increased, we’re now able to predict their occurrence days in advance.
The latest technological innovations, allow us to closely monitor weather changes and form a pretty good idea on what to expect, on the short term. Yet, the number of people affected by nature’s force display is still spiking. When trying to explain it, the main assumption is that a large percent of the population still doesn’t know how to efficiently react in situations like these.
Prevention is Always Better than Cure
So, what’s there to be done?
Leaving aside for a second extreme events such as floods, autumn or winter seasons are not to be taken lightly either. Temperatures drop, precipitations become more frequent, humidity increases… we need to prepare ourselves by setting up a contingency plan for rainy days (as they say).
Our homes are the first we should consider. If there are insulation gaps around your windows and/or doors, you’ll feel those them both in your comfort and your wallet (as soon temperatures go down). If you want to avoid visiting the hospital or crashing your resources, you may be keen to fix them a.s.a.p.
Your doors and windows are the first protection against harsh weather events; if they’re old and deficient, it’s definitely a good idea to replace them with double (or triple) pane windows and insulated doors. It’ll boost both your comfort and your energy consumption efficiency.
It’s also well-known that your home pipes are among the first targets of cold temperatures. That clashes with their very purpose, ensuring your comfort and the best use of critical utilities. When water freezes it can expand to the point where pipes might crack and/or burst open. If temperatures start running toward the freezing threshold, make sure you properly insulate the water pipes that are directly exposed to the outside.
Also: ice dams are no joke, especially if they form on your roof. In order to avoid frustration and costly repairs, make time to clean the gutters and downspouts – that’s where the ice patches first appear. You should take care of all points where heat could leak towards your attic from, thus allowing the formation of above mentioned ice dams and temperature discrepancies. Plus, there’s never enough attic floor insulation, right?
The Darker Side of the Nature
In case things have the potential to get (even) uglier and flooding is imminent, insisting to remain inside can quickly turn into a death sentence – it’s wise, and recommended, to be prepared for quick action. Pack your emergency bag and move to higher ground. If time and usable space allow it, move your furniture to the upper levels, turn off utilities and disconnect all electrical appliances; these are some on-the-go things that you can do to keep damages at a minimum. Fingers crossed!
No one likes to imagine worst-case scenarios but, if you know you’re living in a high-risk area, it’s worthwhile to take the necessary precautions. After all, it’s not for nothing that they say ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.