1. Early warning. The provision of timely information enabling people to take steps to reduce the impact of hazards. Early warning is typically multi-hazard and requires genuine ownership of, and participation by, communities and other stakeholders, e.g., access to information by local people concerning an approaching typhoon or tropical storm.
2. Make a disaster preparedness plan for your property ahead of time. Following a checklist in times of crisis can help focus your attention and keep you from missing important details.
3. Secure your property. Your two most important tasks immediately following a disaster are to ensure the safety and security of people working on site, and to keep valuable or important building fabric from the debris heap. Saving architectural fragments, building materials, decorative plaster, etc. can help with restoration later.
4. Recovery. Decisions and actions taken after a disaster with a view to restoring the pre-disaster living conditions of the affected community, while facilitating necessary adjustments to reduce disaster risk, e.g., assessing levels of future risk when planning housing projects in the aftermath of a disaster.
5. Print important 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.
6. Evaluate the damage. It usually costs less to repair or renovate a disaster-damaged house than to rebuild. Before gutting your property or deciding to demolish, contact your statewide preservation organization to find contractors with proven expertise in historic buildings who can walk through your property with you and help determine the scope of the damage.
7. Make a list. Inventory what was damaged or lost on your property. (This is especially useful in cases of total destruction.) Having an inventory will also help with your contractor bids and insurance claims later.
8. Check your insurance coverage. Older and historic properties often use materials or building techniques you can't easily replicate today, which makes insurance companies far 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.
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 and remember to verify the contractor's state license number and insurance.
Natural disasters can be destructive but knowing this information could be helpful and mitigate the damages of these events.