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Home 
Importance Of Home Safety
Posted on 06/03/2012

We all hear that we should be prepared in case of emergency.  But what does that entail exactly? A recent event in my private life has made me re-evaluate that exact question.  So I asked you this: Are you prepared should a home emergency arise?  Hopefully this will help you take stock, and ensure you are prepared.

Here is a checklist of home safety essentials:

  • Ensure you have fire extinguishers in all necessary locations
    (i.e. basement, garage, kitchen, next to heating system, and at least 1 on each floor)
    [Make sure they are easily accessible, properly charged/maintained & rated for the purpose of the location they are kept.]
  • Ensure you have working Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    (test them monthly & replace batteries if necessary)
    [You should replace the detectors on the cycle indicated by manufacture, as the sensors in them don't last forever.]
  • Have a properly packed home emergency first aid kit.
    [Make sure it's easily accessible & kept up to date.]
  • Childproof electrical outlets, secure all windows/blinds & lock-up all household chemicals
    (if you have small children, this is very important!)
    [It's amazing how many times the news reports on a young child hurt or killed, because such basic precuations were never taken.]
  • Have a clear plan of evacuation & pre-selected meeting point in case of emergency
    (i.e meet on the neighbor's front steps or across the street of your home)
    [Make sure everyone in your family knows this plan & practice it as necessary]
  • Each upper story bedroom should have an emergency evacuation ladder.
    [You will need this, should a fire prevent you from leaving through the door & you need to escape via the window.  Ensure each family member knows where they are kep in each room & how to use them.  Practice setting one up, so it becomes instictive.  You don't want to be caught not knowing, should a fire happen.]
  • Keep an updated list of emergency contacts & provide it to people you trust
    (i.e. give it to nearby friends & to your immediate neighbors)
  • Keep important papers & documents in a fire & water proof safe
    (i.e. birth certificates, social security cards, passports, insurance policies, bank account info, most recent tax return, wills, divorce papers, title of ownership for cars/homes/boats/etc, copy of your emergency contact info, list of URLs/usernames/passwords to important online accounts [i.e. banks, 401k, etc..], copy of important door/lock keys, and anything else that is mission critical.)
  • Make periodic backups of your digital data & store it properly
    (i.e upload to an off-site secure location &/or keep backup media in a fire/water proof location)
  • Make sure all locks can be opened from the inside, without a key.
    [This is especially important for front/back doors with deadbolts & other security locks.  As you don't want to be fumbling with keys, when you need to escape.]
  • Prepare a grab-n-go bag for each family member
    (i.e include basic clothing, toiletries, flashlight, personal first aid kit, list of emergency contact numbers, some emergency money, etc...)
    [In case of evacuation, fire or other emergency, you can simply grab it & go.  There is no thinking, when you need to leave in an instant.]

The above may sound like a lot of effort with little or no return. But when a fire, evacuation or other home emergency occurs, you will be prepared to act in an instant & you won't have to think twice about what to do -- it will be instinctive.  This ounce of preparation, may just save your life or that of your family...

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