We’ve all heard it before, “Safety first!” Yet most of us don’t actually practice that mantra. In 2017, we saw more than $306 billion in disaster damage. This doesn’t include house fires, broken pipes, and other in home accidents that lead to bigger problems.
Knowing that some of these disasters can happen at any moment or build as they come towards our homes, it’s important to have a few safety items in place.
1. Smoke Detector/Alarm
- You should have a smoke detector on every floor in your home, and one outside any sleeping areas.
- Make sure to change the batteries regularly. A good rule of thumb is to change them when you change your clocks for daylight savings, both when it ends and when it begins.
- Some places recommended that you replace your smoke detectors after ten years, and that you have them tested monthly to make sure they’re working properly.
2. Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Often referred to as the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely.
- CO alarms should be in a central location, outside sleeping areas, and on every floor.
- You can interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one goes off, they all go off.
- Find out what number to call if your CO goes off by calling your local fire departments non-emergency number.
- It’s recommended that you test CO alarms at least once a month; and replace them according to the CO manufacturer’s instructions.
- If your CO goes off, move everyone in your house to a fresh air area and call the fire department.
- After snowstorms, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear.
- Learn more about carbon monoxide here!
3. Fire Extinguisher
- Fires can happen anytime in almost any room, so it’s good to have at least two fire extinguishers in your home. You want to keep them in slightly different locations in case you can’t get to one when a fire breaks out.
- Always have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
- It’s good to have one on any additional floors in your home, too.
- You definitely want to have one near any fireplaces.
- Ensure each family member knows how to use them.
- Check periodically and replace when expired.
- Learn more about fire extinguishers here!
4. A Plan
- Having a plan for different disasters helps you and your family stay calm and take action.
- Some things to make sure you have:
- Escape route for each family member
- If this includes a drop ladder, make sure you have one for the rooms that need it.
- Emergency phone numbers
- It’s a good idea to have phone numbers of family members, local emergency departments, and even the American Association of Poison Control (800-222-1222) written down. Keep this list of numbers somewhere you can access once you get to a safe place in the event you have to escape.
- Keeping them in written form will prove beneficial in case you can’t use your cell phones.
- Family information
- If you have to escape or evacuate your home, it helps to have a copy of any info that may be needed for your family. Insurance, medical info, etc.
- Escape route for each family member
- Know where your safety items are.
- Fire extinguishers, escape bags, and other items may be in certain locations in your home. It’s good to know where they are, what’s included, and how to use them if needed.
5. Fully Stocked First Aid Kit
- Some sources recommend a first aid instruction manual, non-latex gloves, bandages of several sizes and types, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and sharp scissors.
- Include flashlights, and batteries, which still come in handy in today’s digital world. Include a few packs of AA, AAA, and D batteries.
- You can also add some extra things like:
- Sticky tape
- Thermometer (We suggest digital)
- Cough medicine
- Skin rash cream like hydrocortisone
- Painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen
- Itch cream or spray
- Allergy medicine
- Eye wash or drops
- If you have a baby or children with you, it’s a good idea to make sure you have anything they may need along with medications that are safe for children.
- See more items for your first aid kit here.