Tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, heat waves and polar vortexes are just a few of the long list of possible disasters weighing on the minds of homeowners these days.
At this week’s International Builders’ Show, an array of products were on display that claim to protect homeowners from virtually any disaster – even the apocalypse. Until recently, disaster-protection products were either too bulky or too expensive for residential homes. But that’s changing due to better technology that is making them smaller, more attractive and easier to manufacture and increased demand from safety-conscious consumers.
“It’s like a good perfect storm” of better consumer information about weather patterns and a growing supply of products, said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and chief executive of the Federal Alliance For Safe Homes Inc., a coalition of companies, nonprofits and government agencies that pushes for more disaster-ready homes.
For home builders, finding ways to make homes less vulnerable also ensures that prime residential areas along the coastlines and in the path of tornados in the south aren’t seen as too dangerous to build in.
Scott Sedam, president of TrueNorth Development, a consulting firm to the building industry, said he has seen a lot more of these types of products in recent years but that in the majority of cases such extreme measures aren’t necessary. Still, he said the industry has responded in some ways.
“I think there’s a general trend toward making materials more robust,” he said.
The federal government is also doing it’s part, pushing more people to invest in safe rooms, citing the increased frequency of natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was on hand at the show this week, modeling different design options for safe rooms.
While the perfect home to keep you safe from every disaster likely remains decades away, according to experts, concrete construction and some of the products below can make consumers significantly safer, Here are some of the items — from backup generators to escape ladders — that can protect consumers and their homes.
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