Taking Precautions

The concept behind the Natural Hazard Strategy is based on integrative risk management. This, in turn, is based on three equally valid principles: preparedness, response and recovery. This page provides information for homeowners on the topic of preparedness and its sub-areas prevention and preparation.e.


Prevention » Preventing damage

Preventive measures are carried out to avoid damage being caused to buildings by natural hazard events.


Spatial planning

Where possible, homeowners should try to evade the hazards that exist in an area or locality. Land-use should be adapted to the existing risks by means of spatial planning measures. These measures reduce the possible extent of the damage caused by a hazard event without actively influencing its course. Hazard maps are one tool that can be used for this purpose. These show where settlements are at risk from natural hazards in Switzerland and which areas that are not yet inhabited should not be built on or should only be developed under certain conditions.


It is important to consider potential hazard events in good time (hazard map). In this way, you can initiate the necessary protective measures yourself.


› Hazard maps

Protection of property

If a natural hazard cannot be avoided, an attempt should be made to minimise the risk it poses through the implementation of measures for the protection of properties. Buildings are designed in a way that ensures that any hazards that arise can only cause minimal damage to the structure. In the case of new buildings, damage can be prevented in this way without imposing any major use restrictions and additional costs.


Examples of property protection measures include the hazard-appropriate orientation of the building to be constructed, the use of hail-resistant façade materials and the reinforcement of walls in the potential path of a landslide. Other examples can be found in the following German publication:


Preparation » Reducing damage

Resource planning

Personal resource planning is the responsibility of homeowners themselves. In the event that your house is affected by a natural hazard event:
Lay in emergency stocks. Keep boards, plastic sheeting, sand bags and pumps at hand in buildings at risk from flooding. Store “hydrophobic” substances (e.g. foodstuffs, tools, hobby equipment etc.) with sufficient ground clearance in the most vulnerable rooms. Move valuable items to more secure rooms. Secure your oil tank against uplift. Insure yourself against all possible damage with buildings and contents insurance.


Other measures:

Keep informed about weather trends and the levels of nearby water courses.

Carry out the necessary measures in good time. “Better too early than too late!” Help your neighbours, in particular elderly or disabled people.


Detailed information (in German) can be found at:

› https://www.vkg.ch/de/naturgefahren/praevention/