Nobody wants to think that a catastrophe, natural or otherwise, will strike at home. However, with the wild weather patterns which have popped up this year, now looks like a smart time to ensure that your home is ready, just in case.
We might not be able to forecast the weather, but we can prevent many home fires, stay calm and cool during crises, access necessities during power outages and minimize harm when a legitimate disaster strikes. Commit to checking off the things on this list, and you can feel good knowing you are doing what you can to safeguard your home and family.
Architecture & Community Design, Union Studio
Put key safety jobs on the calendar now. Take the guesswork out of remaining prepared by scheduling crucial tasks beforehand, just as you would for dentist and doctor appointments.
Here are the basics:
• Clean gutters after the last leaves fall and in the spring.
• Have chimney swept once a year.
• Test smoke alarm batteries yearly.
• Replace smoke alarm batteries once a year.
AIA, Bud Dietrich
Know the dangers in your town. If you live in a fire-prone area, it is particularly important to plant fire-resistant trees and plants and keep areas near your home clear. If you reside in a flood zone, you might want to elevate your furnace, electric panel and water heater.
Understanding which natural disasters are probably in your town also can help you to choose the right insurance policy. Watch FEMA about preparing for crises for more, and examine whether you reside in a flood zone, the flood hazard maps to determine.
Goforth Gill Architects
Take action to prevent fires. Home fires are all too prevalent, and many are preventable.
Key things to start using:
• Position grills and fire pits at least 10 feet in the house.
• Regularly clean lint from the dryer.
• Do not permit smoking in your home.
• Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and fireplace chimneys annually.
• Do not run electric cords under rugs.
• Have an expert replace outdated wiring, in addition to any light switches which feel hot to the touch or connect to lights that flicker.
Kidde Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher – $19.99
Have the right tools, right where you want them. Most home fires start small, and with the proper tools and safety measures in place, you can minimize or prevent damage and accidents.
• Ask your fire department to inspect your home for safety problems.
• Seek out training on proper use of fire extinguishers, and find out which are the best types for your property. Extinguishers are used so you might need a kitchen fire extinguisher in addition to an all-purpose model.
• Install escape ladders in all upstairs bedrooms.
• Check to make sure all windows can be opened. Repair trapped displays and scrape painted-shut windows.
• Maintain dual-sensor smoke alarms on each floor of your home (including the basement) and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
Speak with your children about emergency plans. Maintain your talk short and to the point, but reevaluate the subject regularly so it remains fresh in their minds. In case of fire, for example, the Red Cross advises, “Get out, stay out and call for help.” It is short, sweet, and easy to remember even in times of stress.
Be sure children understand how to escape upstairs rooms safely, and practice your fire escape plan twice a year.
First Alert 2037F Water and Fireproof File Cabinet – $69.99
Maintain your home inventory and other essentials in a safe place. When you have not previously done so, conduct a home inventory for your insurance documents. Contain the stock, along with digital photos stored on a flash drive and a copy of your insurance plan, in a fire- and watertight lockbox. You might want to stash copies of family photos and additional key documents .
Eton American Red Cross Axis Weather Radio – $69.95
Build your emergency kit. Just knowing you have all the essentials accumulated in 1 area can add to your peace of mind.
Top 10 things to have available:
• Two-week supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day)
• Nonperishable food
• Weather radio using built-in flashlight
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Multipurpose instrument
• Fundamental toiletries kit
• Photocopies of personal documents (passports, birth certificates, home deed, etc.)
• mobile phone with charger
• Extra money
Depending on your loved ones, you might also need to include baby and pet supplies, drugs and games for children. For a comprehensive collection of things for stocking your kit, visit the Red Cross.
Just a Girl
Store your emergency supplies in a place that make sense. Now that you have all those essential things piled up, fight the desire to stash them in the deepest recesses of your cellar. Remember, your emergency kit is intended to assist you when disaster strikes!
A much better place may be the garage, mudroom or coat closet. Maintain your kit in a container with handles and a lid that snaps shut; that way you can easily grab it and go, should you ever have to evacuate your home.
More: 10 Actual Ways That You Can Help After a Home Fire