It is always a great time to ensure your home is safe – especially now when we all have so much time inside the house! Basic home safety includes but is not limited to checking smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarms, checking your electrical outlets, ensuring proper storage of cleaners and chemicals and making sure you and your family have a communications plan in the event of an earthquake, fire or other emergency.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in every sleeping area, in hallways leading to sleeping areas and on every level of the home. Even if your alarms have a 10-year battery, you still need to test them once a month. Press to test and ensure all residents of the home know what to do if they hear the alarm. You should have two ways out of every room and everyone in the household should know where to meet if there is an emergency and you need to evacuate. Once outside, call 911 and do not go back inside the home.
Electrical Safety includes checking your home for any overloaded outlets or suspected electrical problems. If a problem is found, have all work done by a qualified electrician. Only use one heat-producing appliance (toaster, coffee maker, space heater) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet; extension cords and power strips should not be used. Check to ensure there are no electrical cords running across doorways or under carpets.
Cleaning products and chemicals should be properly stored. Ensure all products are out of the reach of children. Flammable products like oil, gasoline, paints and varnishes should be stored in a shed away from your home. Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances.
Use this at home time together to develop and communicate a family emergency plan. Discuss, agree on and document an emergency plan with all members of the household. Tips on creating a plan can be found on the ReadyOC website. Get an emergency kit together and make sure you have enough emergency supplies for you and your family – including pets! You should have a three day reserve of non-perishable food and water for each family member. Don’t forget to have first aid supplies and a supply of needed prescriptions for any family members, flashlights and a battery-powered radio. You can find a complete Emergency Supply Checklist here.