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Tips for Keeping Your Home and Family Safe

Moving into your new home is just the beginning of your journey. As you look forward to creating memories, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your home, and those in it, safe for years to come. Here are some important tips to help guide you.

Fire and Electrical Safety

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were over 14,000 fire-related injuries in 2016. Knowing how to prevent house fires, having the proper tools, and knowing what to do in the event of a fire are all important.

First, be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors across your home. Don’t forget to test them frequently to ensure that they are working properly. Remember, you should replace smoke alarms every 10 years, and smoke alarm batteries every year. Preparing a fire escape plan and practicing drills with your family is also important. This should include an escape ladder on the top floors and a “meeting place’ outside of the home.

There are several things you can do to help prevent fires in the home. This includes keeping flammable materials such as curtains, dish towels, and newspapers at least three feet from any heat sources and storing all of your valuables, including important documents, inside a fireproof safe. Also, store chemicals safely away from open flames and out of reach of children.

Make it a point to clean and maintain electrical appliances as recommended by the manufacturer. When you notice damaged or missing outlet covers, replace them immediately. Be sure to install ground circuit interrupters near water areas such as the kitchen, bath, laundry, and garage.

Finally, keep small appliances away from water sources, don’t overload power strips or outlets, and check all cords and wiring for damage on a regular basis.

In the event of a fire, your home should have fire extinguishers that are easily accessible.

Gas Safety

According to the American Gas Association, there are over 2.5 million miles of pipeline that transport natural gas to more than 178 million Americans throughout the U.S. Natural gas can be a safe and energy efficient means for powering important items in your home. However, recognizing a gas leak and knowing what to do if/when a leak occurs is crucial. As a preventative measure, clean and inspect gas appliances as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you’re not familiar with the smell of gas, it can be likened to that of rotten eggs. If you detect what you believe to be gas, turn nothing on or off that has a power source. Instead, leave the home immediately and call 911 once you are safely outside. Also, before you dig in your yard, be sure to contact your local utility company. This can be done nationwide by calling 811. If necessary, someone will come out to mark buried lines so you can dig safely.

Plumbing and Water Safety

Clean drinking water is vital for everyone. In fact, 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related diseases. Using responsible practices at home can contribute to a healthy environment for all.

It’s important to look for signs of water damage in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Standing water is a breeding ground for insects and rodents that carry disease. Having a professional check your water pressure and pipes can prevent leaks and save you money on your water bill. Next, set your water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent burns. This is especially important if there are small children in the house. 

Remember to never pour chemicals down the drain but instead follow the directions recommended on the container label. You also shouldn’t pour grease down your sink. Instead, let it cool before transferring it to a heat-tolerant container and throwing it in the trash.

Outdoor Safety

Keeping the outside of your home safe is just as important as keeping the inside safe.

Store hazardous material is a safe area away from children, this includes tools and sharp equipment, ropes and cords, ladders, batteries, and chemicals. Also, be careful about putting gasoline and other chemicals near open flames and remember to clean spills immediately.

Regularly inspect your driveway for cracks and uneven pavement to prevent falls and injury. Keep an eye out for loose wires in the garage, attic, and other areas. Inspect basement and crawl spaces for water damage, mold, and mildew.

In an effort to keep kids safe, install a garage door opener cover to prevent small children from opening the door and keep harmful products such as medication, firearms, and choking hazards out of the car.

When it comes to your yard, be sure to trim bushes, shrubs, and trees regularly. Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters, vents, and outdoor heating/cooling units and don’t forget to practice regular pest and termite control

Finally, be sure to install a fence with a gate and lock around swimming pools. If you have a deck that is off the ground, make sure the slats are close enough so that a child can’t fall through.

Other ways to stay safe and be proactive in your home include signing up for local weather alerts, keeping flashlights and backup batteries in strategic places, and having a first aid kit handy. Be sure your kids know when they should call 911 in the event of an emergency and know their address for first responders. You can see more helpful home safety tips here.