While I can already hear some ranting about bugout/bailout bags and such, the idea is not to overwhelm someone new. Those that get overwhelmed find it easy to not get prepared, even when such preparations can increase the value of their home and otherwise save them money. Again, each situation is unique and you need to plan for what works for you. Even if you rent and apartment or something else, you can take steps that will help you be prepared and far more comfortable in day-to-day life. While this is focused on someone in a stand-alone home, there are aspects that can be applied elsewhere.
Your home is your castle and your keep, even if it’s not in the middle of the street. It is the place you live, and the place you are most likely to stay in the event of an emergency. What are some of the things you can do, and may already want to do, to improve it so that you enjoy benefits even while preparing?
Let’s start with weather preparedness. Is it weather tight? No matter where you live, insulation is a good thing for keeping out the heat or cold. Caulking, door seals, and other items can reduce energy bills. In an emergency, it can help keep out smoke, pathogens, or even radiation in the worst case. The nice thing is, depending on where you live, there may be grants, tax credits, or even programs to help you take these steps.
Security is also a factor. Are your outer doors insulated and security rated? Again, the grants and other programs may can help with that, as well as taking other steps to make sure it is secure. Double- and triple-pane windows not only add to energy savings, but can also be a security feature. What other steps can you take?
How energy efficient is it? If you HVAC system is old, or even older, a newer system can provide savings. Again, there may be programs to help with such an upgrade, along with tax credits and such. This applies to all major appliances too — the more energy efficient the better. A minor thing you can do is buy outlet insulation systems that help stop drafts that come in that way. At an apartment I rented years back, putting them in actually provided a measurable drop in my electric bill. It also reduced what could come in from outside, from pollen to insects and other delights. Going all LED on lighting saves money, and can make it easier to maintain light and critical appliances via a generator or other power source if needed.
Landscaping can help improve security by eliminating places people can hide, gain entry without being seen, or even approach without being seen. In an area where flooding could be an issue? Berms and walls can help reduce the threat. A non-flammable patio can not only increase the value of the house, but it provides a secure place to put a grill or other outdoor cooking items that can be used in an emergency.
Take a few minutes to think about what you can do to your home to improve it, and at the same time make it better prepared to be your castle and keep in an emergency. Then, look to see what grants, programs, tax credits, etc. may be available to help with that effort. You might be surprised, and all you do will add to the value of the property. If you don’t own but rent, do the legwork to find these opportunities, and it is rare that a landlord won’t jump at the chance to improve their property with little- to no-cost to them.
Be creative, and look outside the box for solutions that work for you.