Hurricane disaster preparedness

Marines patrol past a flooded house in Houston last year.  Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home. Credit: Marine Corps

We hate to sound all public service announcement-y, but now that this year’s hurricane season is off to an active start, FEMA wants to remind you during September’s National Preparedness Month that “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

How do you prepare for any multitude of disasters? FEMA and ready.gov offers these four steps to disaster preparedness:

  • Make and practice your plan.
  • Learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid.
  • Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face.
  • Consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency.

There are countless online resources for emergency preparedness, so we’ve assembled a basic outline of what to do, plus links to helpful resources. There’s plenty you can do now to be prepared in case a disaster strikes locally. (more…)

Real Estate Story
happy house

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

With the fresh start of January, take the next two weekends to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. These nine tips will save you time, energy, and money, and make you feel better about where you hang your hat every night.



1. MAKE BETTER USE OF YOUR CLOSETS

While this is not a photo of my closet above, it almost could be. Come January every year, and my closets tend to be a mishmash of clothes from all four seasons, piles of give-aways that I haven’t gotten around to giving away, and just general wrecks of disorganization.

Start the new year by decluttering a closet. Pick just one and organize with vengeance over one day (trust me, you’ll appreciate the major improvement in a short time). Save, sell, donate, or chuck everything in there, then vacuum, neaten, and dust. Job done!

2. TAKE A PHOTO INVENTORY OF YOUR HOUSE

If, God forbid, your house is ever burglarized or there is a fire, having photo records of the interior and all your possessions will make the insurance process infinitely easier. I speak from experience here: my house was burglarized a few years ago, but I had taken the time to snap photos of all my art, electronics, and jewelry and put it on a USB drive, which was locked in a file cabinet. I was so glad to have done so. Today, I store my photos in the cloud on Dropbox, which is even more convenient. Jump to read the next seven tips!

(more…)

 

Some Houston residents had to canoe through their neighborhoods during recent floods. (Photo: CNN)

Some Texans had to canoe through their neighborhoods during recent floods. (Photo: David J. Phillip/AP)

I grew up north of Houston in a town that straddled Interstate 45 – the preferred thoroughfare for hurricane evacuation from the Bayou City — just a few hundred feet from the San Jacinto River. From an early age, my brother and sisters learned that, while the high winds from a hurricane can pose a significant danger, it was the flooding that caught most people off guard. After riding out several storms and even having evacuated from Hurricane Rosa via National Guard helicopter in 1994 (the only way in and out of our neighborhood was via canoe at that point), I’ve put together a checklist for riding out a tropical storm and surviving a flood.

Of course, not everyone has a canoe or kayak to navigate their neighborhood after the waters rise, there are some ways you can make sure you stay high and dry should severe weather hit your ‘hood.

Jump for more information on sheltering in place in the event of severe weather.

(more…)

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Lara604 via Creative Commons

With the fresh start of January, take the next two weekends to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. These nine tips will save you time, energy, and money, and make you feel better about where you hang your hat every night.



1. MAKE BETTER USE OF YOUR CLOSETS

While this is not a photo of my closet above, it almost could be. Come January every year, and my closets tend to be a mishmash of clothes from all four seasons, piles of give-aways that I haven’t gotten around to giving away, and just general wrecks of disorganization.

Start the new year by decluttering a closet. Pick just one and organize with vengeance over one day (trust me, you’ll appreciate the major improvement in a short time). Save, sell, donate, or chuck everything in there, then vacuum, neaten, and dust. Job done!

2. TAKE A PHOTO INVENTORY OF YOUR HOUSE

If, God forbid, your house is ever burglarized or there is a fire, having photo records of the interior and all your possessions will make the insurance process infinitely easier. I speak from experience here: my house was burglarized a few years ago, but I had taken the time to snap photos of all my art, electronics, and jewelry and put it on a USB drive, which was locked in a file cabinet. I was so glad to have done so. Today, I store my photos in the cloud on Dropbox, which is even more convenient. Jump to read the next seven tips!

(more…)