Home Safety Check. Is Your Home Safe?
Everyone has been spending a lot more time at home lately, trying to stay safe. But how safe is your home? Gather the family and give your house a safety check-up.
- Make a list of important phone numbers and post them in a prominent place (ours was on the refrigerator). Start with 911, and include the family doctor, dentist, neighbors, veterinarian, poison control, and the non-emergency police number.
- Be sure your house number is visible from the street in case emergency personnel needs to find you.
- Have a plan of how to get out of the house in case of fire. Everyone should know how to get out of the house, especially the bedrooms, even in the middle of the night.
- Designate a meeting spot where all members of the family will meet when they get out of the house. That way you know everyone got out. The spot should be somewhere away from the house, just in case it’s dangerous to be too close. Our family chose the tree in our next-door neighbor’s front yard.
- Install deadbolts on all exterior doors.
- Put a solid bar or dowel in the tracks of sliding glass doors.
- Install motion-activated floodlights in key areas, especially the driveway and doors.
- If you have a pool, you need at least a 4-foot safety fence all the way around it. The gate should close automatically and should be kept locked when you aren’t in the pool area.
- Have fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home. Check the batteries at least twice a year.
Have a fire extinguisher on every floor. Check the expiration date. Fire extinguishers expire anywhere from 5 to 15 years. If yours doesn’t have a date and you can’t remember when you got it, replace it. We took our old one to the hazardous waste material facility.
- Keep a first aid kit in your house and in your car. The Red Cross has compiled a list of everything that should be in the kits, https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit.html.
- Be sure chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, paints, thinners, cleaners, bug sprays) are marked and out of reach of children.
- Keep drugs in original containers and store them out of reach of children.
- Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
- Guns should be secured in locked cases. Ammunition should be stored separately.
- Have furnaces and fireplaces inspected regularly.
- Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent being scalded.
- Make sure rugs are secure on the floor so nobody trips
- Keep stairways free of clutter.
- Install nightlights on stairs and in hallways.
- Switch out all corded blinds and curtains to cordless. Cords have strangled young children.
- Extension cords shouldn’t run across doorways or under rugs.
Remember to always do whatever you can to make your house a safe home for you and your family.
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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