When disaster strikes, it’s all too easy to neglect our homes and ourselves. Many of us think that we can “plan ahead” by packing our cars and belongings and hitting the road with little or no gear. That might work in a catastrophe, but in normal conditions, it can lead to unnecessary stress and even loss of life. So when disaster strikes, let’s consider 10 quick tips for staying clean after the SHTF.

First, remember that if you’re dealing with a disaster – any natural disaster – it’s okay to be a little unsure. The key is to do your best and trust in God. If you feel like you can’t do anything right, take some time to consider what you’re really capable of. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you have some extra time on your hands. In this way, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever life throws at you.

Second, remember that there’s plenty of help available if you ever find yourself in need. Many local and national organizations offer both shelter and clean-up services, so talk to them about what’s available in your area. They can direct you to the closest resources and make arrangements for you to come and stay if you are able to do so.

Third, don’t forget that it’s OK to clean. It may seem silly to say so, but a lot of people underestimate the importance of cleaning their home. After all, many people try to avoid doing anything around the house, but dust, mold, pollen, and dampness can build up day after day, year after year. Keeping your home clean will not only make you healthier, but it can also help you sleep better at night, which means you’ll experience fewer headaches and more energy.

Fourth, don’t assume you know how to keep safe in your home. Some people think they’re automatically protected from all forms of danger by their home’s structure and construction. This isn’t necessarily the case, though. If you or anyone in your family is at risk, it’s always a good idea to get a home security system. With today’s technology, you have the option of integrating high tech cameras and alarms into your system in order to keep an eye on the people in your home and keep them safe.

Fifth, while it’s important to keep your home clean, don’t neglect outdoor areas. After all, many homes are located on the ground and may be overlooked by passersby if they aren’t well lit. Also, keep your yard well tended. Fences, flowers, bushes, and shrubs will all help keep unwanted visitors away and may even encourage them to move on to other places if they see your effort at keeping the area neat and clean.

Sixth, when it comes to personal safety, it’s especially important to keep safe. After all, one of the most common ways a burglar or other criminal can gain access to your home or property is through a forced entry. If you take special precautions to secure your home, such as installing a deadbolt lock on your front door and window, you’ll be less likely to be seen by anyone who wants to get into your home. Other basic home security measures you can take include installing smoke detectors or fire extinguishers in various points around the house, keeping your lawn and gardens well kept, and using a pet immune deterrent product to keep potentially dangerous pets out of your home.

Seventh, don’t assume that everyone you know is safe. If you have any doubts about who may be at home alone in the middle of the night, you should get more information from your community service provider or from your cell phone provider. They’ll be able to provide you with more detailed information than a simply leaving a note on their answering machine. You should also take care to watch your children closely after they go outside, especially after dark. It may seem harmless to leave your door’s ajar, but children can crawl, trip or otherwise fall onto a dark sidewalk or driveway and unexpectedly become lost or hurt.

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