If you’re looking to start 2020 off right with New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget home safety. It’s easy to neglect home safety measures until they turn into a crisis. But if you’re proactive, you can eliminate a whole raft of disasters. We asked experts in the industry to chime in with what they consider to be the most pressing steps to ensure a safe home. Here’s what they had to say:
Robert Siciliano Csp, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon.com author and the architect of the CSI Protection certification, a Cyber Social and Identity Protection security awareness training program. Robert is a security expert for Porch.com
- Safety and Security Drills: Having a proactive strategy, a plan of action to escape in the event of a fire or home invasion should be an essential discussion that family members engage in at least annually.
- Fire Safety: Strategically place fire extinguishers and check their expiration dates. Placing them in the mechanical room, on all floors of the home and two in the kitchen is fundamental to life safety.
- Escape Ladder: In the event of fire, those who might be trapped on floors higher than the second should have access to an escape ladder in a convenient location. This ladder should be pulled out at least yearly for family members to observe how it works.
- Smart Home Safety and Security Systems: Home alarm or home security systems today are so much more than burglary prevention devices. Home security systems are smart, intuitive, and are communication devices that will inform the homeowner that the temperature in the house is getting dangerously low, hopefully to prevent freezing. They give the homeowner access to thermostats, water sensors that detect leaks and security cameras to see what’s going on inside and around the perimeter of the home.
One thing many people overlook when considering home safety is fire safety. Everybody is concerned with unwanted and aggressive people barging into their lives and doing harm. There’s probably a good reason for that attitude.
Even so, fire safety is something that is commonly overlooked, and fire-related accidents are also one of the most common problems that might happen in homes that aren’t properly protected from this problem.
In this sense, it’s best to install smoke detectors and fire alarms in your home. Doing so will ensure you’re warned in advance and avoid deathly situations that might happen with an unchecked fire in your home.
This is a good time to also implement some checks to prevent anything happening in your home. For example, any electrical or other type of heater should always have ample space around them. Having them squeezed somewhere behind your curtains or sofa might cause a rise in temperature or a malfunction that could start a fire.
Of course, this means you should also have a fire extinguisher handy in case something like that happens. It’s an active fire protection device that can come in handy in emergency situations.
Bryan Stoddard is currently running a website called homewaresinsider.com that explores all things related to homes, interior design, furniture, and gardening. He is also a passionate home designer that loves to tinker with DIY, design and organizing schemes.
Jake Lizarraga is a writer from reits.org, a website dedicated to helping people understand and digest the world of Real Estate Investment Trust investing.
The top safety considerations to check for any home will, in general, be these:
- Fire hazards and things that can help prevent them. These can be anything from an electric extension cord to power your sump pump (hint: the fire marshalls REALLY hate this one—you’ll need to hardwire it in), to missing breaker covers (they hate this too—ask me how I know), to smoke and CO alarms which are all general things that should be in proper working condition. In certain states, fire sprinkler systems are now required for all new construction as well as any buildings that have 3 occupied floors. Check your local laws on that.
- Gas leaks. That whiff of sulfur or rotten eggs is either a gas leak or a sewer line leak, don’t bet on which one. Get that looked at as soon as possible.
- Clean the chimneys once a year! Chimney fires are a thing. A thing you don’t want.
- Mold. Especially black mold. This is something a lot of people don’t really think about, but if you have had moisture issues, you should keep an eye on mold. Clean your air conditioners and your vents (if you have central AC)—for not only mold but animal droppings that can make you really sick.
- Lead. If your home was built decades ago, lead is a real issue. Even if you have had your walls tested inside and out and it’s covered, you’ll want to test your soil around your house, which is something people tend to miss or forget. If you plan on having a vegetable garden, that will be something you need to be aware of.
- TEST YOUR WATER. Send it in and test it. There are free kits available at your local home improvement stores. Maybe you’ll need a filter, maybe not, but that’s important—especially if your pipes are very old.
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