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How to Protect Properties for Year-Round Conditions

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RISMEDIA, Dec. 3, 2007-The 2007 hurricane season comes to a mostly quiet end for coastal residents, but a national safety group warns that the nation’s prolonged drought conditions could leave many regions trading the threat of strong winds for wildfire.

Despite the uneventful hurricane season, insured catastrophe losses are approaching $5 billion for 2007, including $500 million from Hurricane Humberto, the only U.S. land falling hurricane, and with the rest coming from tornadoes, hail, flooding and wildfires.

Home and business owners should remember that volatile weather-related conditions can occur at any time, says the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the insurance industry’s property loss protection association. Being prepared year-round rather than just responding to seasonal threats will allow you more time to focus on safety when these events occur.

Some suggestions include:

- When re-roofing, choose materials that increase the home’s protection from wildfire, high wind and hail. Have the contractor enhance the roof with stronger nails and a secondary moisture barrier before installing the new covering.
- When landscaping, consider the proximity of trees and shrubs to the home and reduce the chance they will lead a wildfire right to your door.
- Plant native vegetation, and routinely check the yard’s grading to make sure it leads water away from the house.
- Establish a periodic home maintenance check to reduce the chance of water intrusion. Make sure seals around doors and window are pliable and the flashing around them is sin place. Examine the underside of the roof for water leaks, and walk around the outside of the house to find and fill any cracks or holes where pipes or cables enter or exit.
- And if you still don’t have permanent protection for windows and doors, like shutters, buy them now.

For more information, visit http://www.DisasterSafety.org.

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