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10 Tips to Mitigate Natural Disaster Damage

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These 10 tips will help you prepare for and recover from damage to your historic property created by natural disasters.

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10 Tips to Mitigate Natural Disaster Damage

  2. 2. 1. Create a disaster preparedness plan. Following a checklist in times of crisis can help focus your attention and keep you from missing important details.
  3. 3. 2. Check your insurance coverage. Historic properties often use materials or techniques you can't easily replicate, which makes insurance companies less likely to cover damage. A great option for insuring historic homes is National Trust Insurance Services (a National Trust subsidiary). NTIS can help value your property and ensure sufficient protection.
  4. 4. 3. Print important information and documents ahead of time. Disasters often cause power outages and service disruptions, so in this wired age of computer and smartphone reliance, it's helpful to have critical info already at your fingertips.
  5. 5. 4. Secure your property. Saving architectural fragments, building materials, decorative plaster, etc. can help with restoration later.
  6. 6. 5. Call your insurance company. Register with FEMA. File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. If your area was included in a national disaster declaration, you'll then want to register and apply for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  7. 7. 6. Call your SHPO and local preservation commission. Your state historic preservation office can answer questions about your historic property, direct you to the appropriate state and local resources, and help you navigate any confusing processes.
  8. 8. 7. Assess the damage. Before gutting your property (or deciding to demolish), contact your SHPO to find contractors with proven expertise in historic buildings who can walk through your property with you.
  9. 9. 8. Make a list. Inventory what was damaged or lost on your property Having an inventory will also help with your contractor bids and insurance claims later.
  10. 10. 9. Compile repair bids. Figure out exactly what needs to be done, write it down, and walk through your house with contractors to get a ballpark estimate. If it sounds reasonable, request an item- by-item detailed bid. Try to get three bids based on the exact same work.
  11. 11. 10. Investigate financial resources. Your property might qualify for any number of federal, state, and local funding programs, including grants, loans, and historic tax credits. Your SHPO can help direct you to the programs that best fit your property and its repair needs.
  12. 12. The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same in their own communities. For more information, visit SavingPlaces.org. Photos courtesy: Matt Cooper/Flickr/CC-BY 2.0; George Pankewytch/Flickr/CC-BY 2.0; North Atlantic Division/Flickr/CC-BY 2.0; Dannel Malloy/Flickr/CC-BY 2.0; Pamela Andrade/Flickr/CC-BY 2.0; Mike_tn/Flickr/CC-BY NC ND 2.0; Mark/Flickr/CC-BY NC ND 2.0; Thomas Altfather Good/Flickr/CC-BY ND 2.0; BRJ INC/Flickr/CC-BY NC ND 2.0; Charles Taber/Flickr/CC-BY ND 2.0; PRO Ann (Helen) Devereux/Flickr/CC-BY SA 2.0