Hurricanes and tropical storms are significant threats to those living in coastal areas. But the people that are most at risk are also most at home. With some intentionality, you can create a safe, secure home even if your property is on the coast. This article provides helpful tips to keep your coastal property –– and loved ones –– safe.
Read on for DeVooght’s guide to building resilience in coastal communities.
Lifting Your Home’s Foundation
Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters afflicting coastal communities. Heavy rainfall, hurricanes, and tropical storms can bring an influx of water inland. If your home’s foundation isn’t high enough, you’ll take on water.
But with a foundation lift, you protect your home and family even when the waters rise.
Raising your home keeps water from flooding in and ruining your possessions. It also prevents water from seeping into your home’s foundation, causing cracks and erosion.
Lifting your home’s foundation is the first step to building resilience in coastal communities.
Know The Regulations in Your Area
There are many regulations for the construction and maintenance of coastal homes. They ensure the safety of residents and infrastructure. But homeowners who don’t meet or follow these regulations may incur high insurance costs or fines. Most of the requirements have to do with the foundations, elevation, and roofing, but they also provide helpful information about building materials, wind and flood risk, and insurance costs.
Most of these guidelines may already be met for those buying new homes, but if you have an older home that does not comply, fixing these issues is the safe and economical option.
Be Intentional About the Materials Selected
Due to the constant exposure to salt, wind, and water that coastal homes experience, the building materials you choose for your coastal home can greatly impact its longevity and structural integrity.
Some things that may work in an offshore home, such as untreated wood and certain types of metal, will quickly rot or rust near the coast. If you are building your home, you may have the chance to choose the shape and materials that are used all the way through.
But for those who own pre-existing homes, updating the exterior material can still add a lot of life to a home. It’s worth it to invest in high-quality, weather-resistant materials for your exterior trim, siding, roofing, and shutters.
Update Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are typically the weakest points of the house. This risk can be minimized by updating the hardware to heavy-duty screws, bolts, and anchors. You can also upgrade the doors and windows themselves and choose brands and materials that are high-impact and hurricane-proof.
Full replacement can often be a little pricey, but it may be worth it when you consider the damage –– and work –– it could prevent. And don’t forget garage doors: their large surface area makes them a greater target for wind and debris. By installing a garage door brace, you can add extra protection and security to your home.
Get To Know Your Neighbors
Knowing the people who live around you creates a safe network for information to spread. For those who may be newer to the area, cultivating relationships with neighbors allows advice and experience to be shared.
For some community residents, such as the elderly, disaster preparation or evacuation may not be possible without help. Familiarizing yourself with the people nearest to you in your community will open the door to sharing needs and helping others. This will create a safe, supportive, and comforting community.
Stay Informed and Prepared
One of the best ways to keep your family and your community safe all year round is to stay informed about what is going on in your area. News and weather services are a great way to get information on a regular basis. There are also alert apps like the FEMA App that provide up-to-date weather alerts for you or your loved ones, including information to help locate shelters and emergency services. Government websites also provide checklists informing communities on how to be prepared and what supplies they need.
Have an Emergency Plan
The final way to create a resilient coastal community is to have an emergency plan. No one wants a disaster to happen, but the best way to stay safe and keep our loved ones out of harm’s way is to be prepared for such events. Having a plan in place allows residents to live their lives freely and wisely. Your family may not always be together when bad weather hits, but when everyone knows where to go and what to do, it provides safety and, therefore, peace of mind to families.
Coastal towns are beautiful areas to live in. Understanding the risks and how to prepare for them can help build resilience in your neighborhood and the larger community. This guide provides all the information you need to get started protecting your home and family.
At DeVooght House Lifters, our goal is to strengthen our communities and provide peace of mind to our customers. Contact our team today to start protecting what’s most important to you.