Natural disasters seem to increase in frequency. While people can’t do much to prevent them, you can take steps to protect your home.

Earthquakes

Since earthquakes usually come without warning, preparation consists of sensible home maintenance. If you have any defective wiring, have it repaired as soon as possible. The same goes for foundation cracks. Large appliances and water heaters should be bolted to the floor or strapped to the walls. You should also store breakable items on lower shelves.

Flooding

Place the water heater and furnace on bases that measure at least 12 inches above expected water levels. Install a sump pump and a battery-operated backup. If you have a basement, make sure to use waterproof composites to seal the walls.

Hailstorms

If you live in a region that is prone to hailstorms, add an impact-resistant roof to your home. It also helps to have double-pane windows. While you can’t do much else to protect your home, at least you can keep the blinds closed during a hail event.

Hurricanes

Fortify the garage doors and enhance the roof with straps or clips. Permanent storm shutters on the windows help protect them from breakage. When you’re building a home in a hurricane zone, add a safe room that will double as an escape during a hurricane.

Tornadoes

While you can’t protect your home from a direct tornado hit, you can take steps to limit damage. Tornadoes usually come with little warning, but fortified garages and hurricane shutters can offer some protection. You should have the roof checked regularly and keep up-to-date on all house repairs.

Volcano

If you live in proximity to a volcano that has erupted, keep doors and windows shut to avoid ash entering the home. Place moistened towels in front of them, so the ash can’t enter through the small gaps. If lava threatens and you’re told to evacuate, unplug electronics and cover them up before leaving.

Wildfires

If you are constructing a home in a wildfire zone, use wood that has been treated with fire-resistant material and avoid any combustible materials. Fiber cement and stucco make good choices. In case of an approaching fire, shut all doors and windows, wet the roof, turn off the gas and follow official instructions in regards to evacuation.