Disaster Proof Your Home, by “Decay”

In today’s survival forums much emphasis is placed on issues such as Bug Out Bags (BOBs), Main Battle Rifles, or Bug Out Vehicles (BOVs) These are important but I feel that it is critical that we also remember to return to the basics in an emergency situation. It was through my neighborhood Emergency Training program that I was reminded how fragile our homes, apartments, and neighborhoods can be during and after a disaster. Before flooding, hurricanes, tornados, famine, pestilence, plague, war or martial law. You and your family should get prepared so that you will be ready for anything that rolls down the pipe! The basic eight in your home are: gas & propane, water, structure, communication, light, food, and first aid.

WATER & NATURAL GAS/PROPANE: A four-in-one tool can be used to shut off gas and water lines, turn off main lines to your home/apartment. Water heaters should be strapped to the nearest wall, in case of an earthquake. By shutting off your water, you will not waste water pressure to the fire hydrants.

ELECTRIC: Get familiar with the location of your main power switch so that you can turn off all of the power to your home in the case of emergency. Remember that the power company will be receiving thousands of service requests during an emergency and will not be available to respond quickly to them. By knowing how to turn off the power quickly you will reduce the risk of electrocution and fire in your home.


  • If your domicile is damaged beyond repair and is not livable, have a tent or Geodesic dome handy where your family can live until a new structure can be rebuilt.
  • If you live in area that is prone to wildfires, you will need a 100 yard radius around you home that is limits flammable materials, including shrubbery and trees. [See: this site on “defensive space” for your property.]
  • Sand bags are important for flood prone areas, and be used as a safe room, bunker, or to cover windows to stop incoming rounds. Single stacked sand bags will stop 7.62×51 [NATO] rounds.
  • Chainsaws will be handy for cutting down branches/trees after a windstorm, ice storm, tornado or hurricane.
  • Heavy curtains placed over windows will help protect you and your family from falling glass in earthquake prone areas.
  • Installing anti-tilt brackets on furniture and bookshelves will also prevent injury from falling objects.
  • Constructing a concrete storm shelter will keep your family alive in hurricane and tornado prone areas. It should be below ground level and connect to your house basement, if possible. Food, water, blankets, first aid kits and cots should be stored in in the basement.

COMMUNICATION: Battery-powered SW/AM/FM/Weather band radio. Store it without the batteries installed. [Store your radio in a metal ammo can] in case of EMP.

LIGHT: Small flashlights next to every family member’s nightstand will help guide them around or out of the house in a power outage or disaster. Also remember to keep a flashlight next to the power junction box to replace blown fuses.

FIRST AID: Two first aid kits should be available in the home. One can be kept in the home and the other should be in your jump kit or backpack to take with you in the case of evacuation. These kits should be organized and easy to find so that first aid items can be accessed and used quickly. Check and refill your kits on a yearly basis. Burn gels, Betadine and other creams and dry out and over-the-counter pain killers will expire. Remember to have a three month supply on prescription drugs in both kits.

FOOD: Last but not least, it is important to remember that we need to build our food pantries so that in the case of emergency we have enough food to survive for at least two months. This includes storing good drinking water that is safe from contamination.