Risk mitigation is taking action to prevent or lessen the severity of something. It might seem like a foreign concept, but it’s something we all do (in principle) every day. When you get in a car, you put on your seatbelt. That small action lessens the potential harm you’d face if you got into an accident. When you take care of your health, you lessen the potential of contracting chronic diseases. You mitigate risks every day.
But how can you lessen the impact of natural disasters and other emergency situations? Is that even possible? Definitely. But it requires forethought, planning, and a willingness to take action right now. Why now? Trying to buckle your seatbelt in the midst of a car accident or eat a bunch of vegetables while you’re having a heart attack doesn’t do you much good. When you’re in the middle of an emergency situation, it’s too late for risk mitigation. Instead, you’re forced to take on the full impact of the disaster. But how do you start this process?
Analyze Your Risks and Vulnerabilities
First, consider the hazards you’re likely to face in your area. For example, do you live in a flood zone? Does your area experience frequent storms? After identifying the dangers, you can assess your vulnerabilities. How will these hazards affect you and your family? Are there any community lifelines that you might be cut off from?
So what do you do with this information? Take action to lessen the danger or property damage that you are a risk of.
If you live in an area where wildfires are common, having an evacuation plan is essential. And everyone in the household should be thoroughly familiar with it. So instead of panicking, your family members will know exactly what to do. That little bit of preparation will get everyone out of the building faster. And this can lessen the damage of smoke inhalation and even save their lives.
Does your area have frequent windstorms? If so, you can lessen the possibility of injury or property damage by trimming or removing trees that are dangerously close to your home.
Risk Transfer - Why Insurance is so Important
But what if there isn’t much we can do to prevent or lessen the impact of a potential disaster? Is there still some way we can prepare? Yes. Having an up-to-date insurance policy is a protection.
Why is insurance so important? Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage to your house. Most of us don’t have that kind of money in our savings account. And we can’t take on such an unexpected and large amount of debt. Instead, we make the smaller up-front investment in a good insurance plan. And that weight is taken off our shoulders.
“But I Don’t Live in a Flood Zone”
Even if you don’t live in an area that requires flood insurance, it’s a good idea to consider it. Urban flooding is shockingly common. It doesn’t take much more than a heavy rain to overwhelm the stormwater drainage capacity of many towns and cities. These types of floods often occur well outside of flood maps.