Your home is likely the largest investment you own, but more importantly, it protects and provides a sanctuary where your family will share experiences and create lifelong memories. The National Association of Home Builders’ MyHome Press has published a handbook for home owners, “Home Maintenance Made Easy,” and below are just some of the many tips provided in the Safety and Security section that can help you keep your home and family out of harm’s way.
- Keep a home first aid kit or first aid materials in a convenient location. Buy and keep a booklet on basic first aid with it.
- If you decide to remodel, finish the basement, or add on to your home, work with trained professionals who will make sure a building permit is obtained, all building department inspections occur and the work complies with applicable codes.
- Teach children how and why to dial 911.
- Locks should be located so they cannot be reached by breaking a small windowpane in or near the door.
- Locks that require a key to open from the inside are potentially dangerous if any emergency such as a fire occurs. Be sure a spare key is close by to prevent trapping anyone inside the house.
- Have a fire extinguisher and ensure all family members know where it is and how to use it. Fires from combustible solids such as wood, cloth or paper differ from electrical and chemical fires, so make sure your extinguisher is multipurpose. Check annually that the charge is still in the green area of the scale. A qualified and licensed professional at a specialty store can recharge it.
- Make sure all family members know the escape routes to use in a fire. Conduct regular fire drills to practice.
- Test your smoke detectors to ensure they function correctly and so everyone will recognize the warning alarm’s sound. If a detector chirps, the battery needs replacement. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning and servicing your detectors.
- Store volatile materials (such as paint and gasoline) in appropriate containers and away from flames and heat sources, ideally in a garage or building that is not part of your habitat space.
- Don’t place flammable objects or materials near the stove or fireplace, and store matches away from heat sources and the reach of children. Also keep flammable objects away from the grill.
- Make sure all electrical cords are in good repair. Use properly sized fuses and don’t overload electrical outlets.