From coast to coast, different areas have different risks of natural disasters. Houses and garages can suffer a lot of damage from events like earthquakes and floods, creating a necessity to always be prepared in times of emergency. Often times homes built in natural disaster zones will have precautions taken in construction to stabilize foundations and protect the home and family within. However, the garage is often overlooked when it comes to fortifying the home against disaster. The following contains advice for emergency preparedness in your garage.
Storing Emergency Preparedness Kits
Many families put together an emergency preparedness kit to store extra food, water, first aid, or other necessities for times of trouble. Although a dry, cool area in the home is the best place to store these emergency kits, some prefer to store these in the garage. Because garages typically don’t have the temperature and humidity control systems that are found inside the home, some precautions need to be made in order to store emergency kits there.
To prevent mold and mildew from forming on emergency storage, install a vent or fan to reduce humidity. If you live in a very humid climate, consider a dehumidifier to keep extra moisture out.
Keeping emergency preparedness items up and off the floor with racks and shelves help them last longer and prevents ground moisture from reaching them. Install shelves and racks to store them safely in the dehumidified and ventilated garage. Keep generators outside of the garage to prevent carbon monoxide build up when in use.
Check out our recent post about what not to store in a garage.
Preparing Garage For Flooding
If you live in a flood zone or any area with heavy rain, there are some easy steps to help prepare your garage against flooding.
To prevent water absorption and damage to concrete floors and garage walls, have a professional like us at Monkey Bar Storage install epoxy flooring to protect the garage against potential flood hazards. Water proof paint on garage walls will also prevent damage.
Prepare your garage for a flood by keeping a stash of sandbags ready, either homemade or storebought, to seal off your garage door. If there is a severe flood warning, use more bags to seal off the entry from the garage into your home, in case the garage starts to fill. If you would like extra protection, special flood doors are available for installation instead of regular garage doors.
A county in Florida provided an article to explain more about preparing the garage and home for flooding.
Preparing Garage For Tornadoes/Hurricanes
High winds from tornadoes and hurricanes are very destructive when they hit your garage and home. The garage is actually considered one of the weakest parts of the home, because the garage door acts as one giant opening for wind to enter into the home and reach and lift at the roof structures.
This Popular Mechanics article describes some ways you can prepare the garage for tornadoes or hurricanes. The article mentions, “There are many ways to fortify a garage, from bracing its roof trusses to adding metal brackets and straps that tie its parts together. You can even install brackets that better secure the garage to its foundation”
If your garage has any windows, have plywood shutters ready for use during an emergency. Plywood may not be enough for the garage door, though. To protect a garage door from bending in and out or coming off of its tracks, we recommend installing (or having a professional install) vertical braces like these to protect your garage door from strong winds, or purchasing a hurricane-ready garage door.Here are two more articles from www.floridadisaster.org and www.bobvila.com about preparing your garage for tornadoes and other strong winds.
Preparing Garage For Earthquakes
In the event of earthquakes, move hazardous, flammable, or heavy objects to the bottom shelf of a cabinet, preferably one that locks.Lockable cabinets from Monkey Bar Storage will prepare your garage for earthquakes. Additional bracing of the walls or roof trusses will also help prepare the garage and it’s contents for earthquakes.
In addition, if you live in an earthquake zone, always park your car with the emergency brake, know how to open the garage manually in case of a loss of power, and strap any heavy objects including water heaters to the walls in the garage. It is recommended that a professional help you strap water heaters to make sure it complies with safety codes.
Whether you are preparing your garage for earthquakes, or any other natural disaster, always consult with a professional so you can be sure whatever you are installing is done so correctly and according to code. Emergency preparedness for the garage takes some thought and effort, but in the end you and your family will feel safer knowing your home is better prepared for whatever comes your way.
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