Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Emergency Planning For Your Home

Getting yourself prepared for an emergency is something most people figure they’ll get around to sooner or later. But why wait? You want your home, and those in it, to be protected from day one. In honor of June being National Home Safety Month, here are a few items to take care of at home:

Smoke out fire hazards

 First things first – check the batteries in all the smoke detectors in the home. Change the batteries and replace any detectors that aren’t working properly. The Home Safety Council recommends placing smoke detectors on every floor of the home, including the basement and near sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries twice a year – the changing of the clocks is a good reminder. Also, keep a fire extinguisher, one that works on any type of fire, handy in the kitchen, which is the most common site for home fires. If you have more than one level of your home, or live above the main level of a condominium complex, consider purchasing a fire escape ladder. They are available at most home improvement stores and come in a variety of lengths.

Chemical matters
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that we can’t see or smell, so CO detectors are best
positioned near bedrooms and the furnace to warn when the gas collects in high levels. A bill signed into law in May 2010 requires that all homes in California must have CO detectors installed by July 2011. If you have children in your home, find a secure place for medicines and household cleaners, and install safety locks on cabinets and drawers to keep dangerous substances out of reach.

Road map

Create safety plans for your home and make sure every member of the family is on board. Outline escape routes from bedrooms, be sure everyone knows how to unlock doors and windows, and designate a meeting area outside of the home in case of a fire, earthquake, or other disaster. Also, familiarize yourself with your neighborhood and drive the routes to the nearest hospital, fire and police stations.

By the numbers

Make note of how to contact the local police and fire departments, as well as poison control. Keep the numbers by the home telephone and program them into the mobile phones of each member of the household.

Let everyone know your name

One of the best security systems can be found right next door. Neighbors look out for each other, and each other’s homes, and can provide much needed assistance in an emergency. If you haven’t already done so, introduce yourself and your family to everyone on the block and consider swapping phone numbers. When you’re in need of help, they could be at your door faster than emergency workers.

Whether you're just moving into your home, or you've lived there for years, the safety of you and your family is most important.  After all, the sooner you prepare yourself and your home for a disaster, the sooner you can live in your home feeling safe and sound.