As a homeowner, how prepared are you for potential hazards that can dramatically affect your quality of life?Here in Miami Beach, tidal flooding, fires, hurricanes, mold, and other dangers can cause extensive damage to your property, can cause major health issues, and can turn into huge expenses (and headaches!). Every homeowner should be making every attempt to mitigate the effects of these hazards before they occur.Mitigation is the effort to reduce losses and damage to property by lessening the impact of disasters in advance of them happening. Mitigation is taking action now, before the next disaster, to reduce the consequences later (analyzing the risks, reducing the risks, insuring against risks). Effective mitigation requires that each of us understands the local risks, addresses the choices, and invests in long-term community well-being. Without everyone applying proper mitigation actions, we all jeopardize our safety, financial security and self-reliance.The Miami Beach Department of Emergency Management is developing various plans to make Miami Beach a safer community that can recover quickly and experience lower financial impacts in a time of crisis. In 2015, the Miami Beach Department of Emergency Management will continue to develop training, planning and exercises that focus on protection for all residents of Miami Beach. This will be achieved through volunteer involvement, new public-private partnership initiatives, and city-wide disaster drills and exercises.

What should you do to protect your home and your health?

INSURANCE:Because Miami Beach is a coastal area and is very vulnerable to a variety of hazards including major windstorms and flooding, you should make sure that you have proper insurance coverage for your home.ROOF:Make sure that your roof meets current building codes. If you have any leaks in your roof, patch them immediately and make sure that all roof tiles or shingles are secured correctly. Check to make sure that your roof is secured with hurricane straps. If you’d like a recommendation on reliable contractors in Miami, please contact Stavros.WINDOWS:Replace outdated windows with current hurricane impact resistant windows. If you do not have impact resistant windows, make sure that you have hurricane shutters installed. If you’d like a recommendation on reliable window companies in South Florida, please contact Stavros.AWNINGS:Make sure that your awnings are made of aluminum, and that they meet current building codes. When preparing for a storm, make sure that you always remove the fabric from the frames of the awnings.DOORS:Replace outdated glass doors with current hurricane impact resistant doors. If you do not have impact resistant doors, make sure that you have hurricane shutters installed. Your entry doors need to have a minimum of 3 hinges.  If you have garage doors, make sure that they have hurricane shutters as they are highly susceptible to wind damage. If you’d like a recommendation on reliable window companies in Florida, please contact Stavros.ELECTRICAL SHOCK/FIRE:Make sure that your outlets are GFCI (The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second.). Replace any outdated or faulty wiring and recycle any old appliances that could be a fire hazard. I have installed dozens of GFCI’s and highly recommend this one: Leviton X7599-W SmartlockPro Slim GFCI Tamper-Resistant Receptacle with LED Indicator, 15-Amp, WhiteGENERATORS:Consider installing a whole-house standby generator that keeps your power on during an outage. They are installed outside your home like an AC unit and come on automatically, whether you’re home or away. Whole-house standby generators run on propane or natural gas, so there’s no refueling.LEAD:If your home was built before 1978, you should buy a lead testing kit to ensure that your paint does not contain lead. Lead can cause severe health effects and even death.  You can learn more about lead paint on the Housing & Urban Development website. I recommend this home lead testing kit: 3M LeadCheck Swabs, 8-PackRADON:Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep up from the ground into your home. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. You should buy a radon testing kit to ensure that your home does not have high levels of this deadly gas, and hire a professional contractor if radon is detected. I recommend this radon test kit: Accustar Alpha Track Radon Gas Testing Kit AT 100CARBON MONOXIDE:Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is undetectable without a testing kit, or a CO2 detector. You should have CO2 detectors permanently installed in your home within 10 feet of every single bedroom. All CO2 detectors must be replaced every 3-5 years, do not forget! I recommend this carbon monoxide detector: Kidde C3010D Worry-Free Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display and 10 Year Sealed BatteryMOLD:Mold can occur inside your home after flooding, or anywhere that excess moisture is present such as a leaky pipe.  Always keep the humidity in your Florida homes as low as possible. Should you discover mold inside or outside your home, DO NOT use bleach, it’s TOXIC. I recommend using Concrobium Mold Control.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.