Australians have felt the true effects of climate change as rising heat levels continue to engulf the country. As the annual national temperature increases by 1.15°C, bushfires and heatwaves are recognized as Australia’s most deadly natural disaster.
Home is where the heart is, and homeowners are continually looking for effective ways to protect their property. The following tips will help to get you on the right path in the long and short term.
1. Install weather-resistant roofing
Roofs are the most significant line of defence your home has; not only does it protect the contents inside, but shields residents from adverse weather.
Steel roofing is a non-combustible option, able to withstand heavy rain – a popular choice amongst communities liable to flooding. Choose lighter neutral colours reflective of sunlight – you’ll notice a significant difference in your energy bills with a lighter option.
Slate is a suitable roofing material for residents living in communities at risk of bushfire. Slate tiles form an excellent heat barrier due to their high thermal mass; they absorb heat from the sun and discharge it at night. Although slightly pricey, slate is both durable and aesthetically-pleasing.
2. Floodproofing precautions
Floods can cause devastating damage to your home, Australia is no stranger to regional flooding caused by heavy rainfall. Check the flood risk in your area — more than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast, with many neighbourhoods built around a network of rivers leaving them vulnerable to riverine flash flooding.
Reduce the risk of mould and structural failure by tending to pipes and gutters that force water to travel away from the property. Reinforce windows and doors to ensure there are no gaps once they are locked – if humidity alters the expansion use gap fillers to stop water pouring in.
3. Protection from bushfires
Thousands of homes every year are lost to Australia’s brutal bushfires, you can undertake active tasks to maintain protection around your home including:
- Frequently clearing flammable debris such as leaves and long dry grass.
- Safely store flammable liquids.
- Cut thick undergrowth around your home.
Further modifications could save your home even if you are evacuated:
- Cover external vents and air conditioners with metal flywire.
- Install non-combustible fencing with materials such as brick or metal.
- Station metal flywire or non-combustible sheets throughout underfloor spaces to prevent internal fires.
4. Stock sandbags
Sandbags are a simple yet effective way to tackle flooding. Stack the bags around 1ft high, making sure they extend further than your door’s width. Firefighters are known to stack sandbags at 30ft within defence zones against wildfires.
5. Secure your home from theft
Sadly, disasters aren’t always caused by nature; every year, hundreds of thousands of Australians are broken into. You can take plenty of routine precautions, such as:
- Locking all entry points before you go out.
- Installing burglar alarms.
- Purchasing the correct home insurance.
Garages and garden sheds are often targeted; consider CCTV installation which runs throughout your home and outdoor areas to deter criminals.
6. Prepare your electrical outlets
It is important to stay vigilant with electrical outlets at all times. Keep on top of repairs by fixing electrical wiring and securing loose connections. Learn how to turn off your gas and electricity before flood waters hit. Move electrical appliances to higher ground if it is safe to do so. Submerged electronics must not be tampered with.
7. Modernize heating supplies
Home heating systems are essential, yet they face the risk of disconnection during high winds or flooding. Take precaution by securing your heater with bolts and shield any outdoor equipment from heavy storms.
8. Enforce security measures
Smoke alarms are incredibly easy to install, they require little maintenance and should be located throughout your whole home. Similarly, CO2 detectors are imperative; place them in the same room where heating appliances are based. Frequently test the batteries on smoke alarms and check your CO2 Detector; they could save your life.
9. Install sturdy garage doors
Garage doors protect a large entrance to your home and enclose vehicles. Metal built doors not only provide a sense of security but are less likely to combust against adverse weather conditions.
10 Optimize home insurance
Investing in suitable home insurance before disaster strikes is essential. Basic policies can cover the repair of significant damage, it is best to review insurance against disasters that are likely to occur in the area.
Natural disasters can be unnerving; taking precautions to guard your home can help you feel more at ease. Frequently checking on vulnerable areas of your home can save you from extensive damage in the future.