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Protecting US Homes From Climate Change Depends on More Than Individual Action

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Protecting US Homes From Climate Change Depends on More Than Individual Action

These small but important additions can protect homes in high-risk areas from the dangerous effects of climate change, but state and local governments play a more crucial role in funding and enacting climate resilience strategies

July 25, 2023
Homes next to hillside on fire in California
Image: Diarmuid / Stock.adobe.com

From devastating floods and violent coastal storms to raging wildfires and record heatwaves, the consequences of global warming already present a growing danger to millions of Americans, and experts say the worst is yet to come. To get ahead of such threats, homeowners can take proactive measures to safeguard their homes and reduce the severity of weather-related damage in the event of an emergency.

For example, simple changes like installing rain gutters to redirect water away from the home can mitigate flood risks, while air conditioners can shield households from extreme heat, and metal roofing can protect against wildfires, Forbes reports. 

Individual actions can only go so far in mitigating the risks of climate change. So homebuyers should consider not only the property's resilience but also the community’s. Organizations like First Street Foundation analyze climate resiliency and provide detailed projections about the preparedness of communities for disasters like floods, fires and heat waves.

It is critical for residents to understand and advocate for their communities' preparedness, because homes won’t be protected from disasters if the community as a whole is unprepared. Rain gutters won’t stop a home’s lower-level from flooding when the sewers are backed up because of outdated infrastructure. A home’s air conditioning can’t protect a household against heat risk when the electrical grid fails. In regions prone to wildfires, having a well-funded fire department equipped with state-of-the-art firefighting technology would do more to protect homes than anything an individual homeowner could do.

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