25 Home Safety Tips For Your Review and To Protect Your Family.
Do you have any of these safety problems?
If you are a home owner or even a tenant you should consider these very minimum safety improvements for your home or leased space. I have found that many of these minimum items are not a part of a routine check in many households. It is most likely that you have at least 2 or 3 of these unsafe conditions in your home. The minimum recommended safety items you should consider are as follows:
1. Install solid core wood or steel doors on all exterior door and entrance areas using doors with minimum glass area.
2. Install dead bolt locks on all exterior doors. Insure there is no keyed lock on the interior as this is an unsafe improper installation.
3. Install adequate lighting on all exterior ground areas and on to all walkway areas. The use of motion detection lighting is effective and recommended.
4. Install smoke detectors on all levels of the home and in each bedroom. You have the choice of battery operated or hardwired with the electrical system. New homes require the hardwired detector including bedroom additions.
5. Remove or trim all shrubs or trees near windows and doors where an intruder can hide.
6. Install a UL approved carbon monoxide alarm in the basement, in bedrooms, and utility areas. Install where there are any appliances creating combustion products as a result of fuel burning.
7. Install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) on all electrical outlets within six feet of water source in kitchen, bathrooms, basement sinks, laundry area, exterior outlets, and garage areas. There are GFCI for protection at the outlet or GFCI Breakers installed at the electrical service panel which protects the whole circuit. Please call a professional to install the GFCI's.
8. Purchase a second floor emergency escape ladder that can be installed for escape through the windows. Please keep it readily available.
9. Insure sufficient egress (emergency exit) from at least one window in all rooms or in accordance with the property maintenance code or the building code in your area. In addition please check and insure all steps have guardrails so children can not fall over the edge. Please call your local building inspector to review.
10. Insure that all basement windows are secure to prevent easy entry by an intruder.
11. Insure door to garage is at least a 20 minute fire rated door if the garage is integral. If this door is a solid wood door meaning no hollow cores or panel sections, it will meet this standard.
12. Check and insure that the walls and ceilings in your integral garage are fire rated with no broken drywall or fire rated board. Many garage ceilings have holes due to plumbing leaks that needed repaired but were not repaired. The garage should be sealed to prevent the spread of fire and carbon monoxide during use.
13. Practice fire safety drills with your family and other residents. Contact your local fire department for more information to learn more procedures and tips.
14. Make sure no windows are painted and or caulked shut. Insure all windows open and open easy. Time is everything in an emergency and a delay could cost you or your loved one harm and possible death.
15. Install portable fire extinguishers in key areas such as the kitchen, bedroom, garage, basement, and utility areas.
16. Do not store flammable materials, dangerous chemicals, poisons, or dangerous materials in your home. Review your home for these items and take the time to dispose of them or secure in another location.
17. Do not store combustible or any materials around gas fired appliances such as the hot water tank, furnace, space heater, or fireplace. They could ignite or hinder proper combustion of the fuel burning appliance.
18. Do not burn open candles in your home. While many individuals like to burn these candles they should be carefully monitored, protected from tipping over, and have a shield around the flame. This is a major cause of many home fires.
19. Do not use ovens as a heating source for comfort.
20. Do not use electric space heaters as main source of heating in your home. They too, are a frequent source of home fires due to over use on old electrical circuits. Insure any portable space heater is used per the manufacturer's instructions. Contact a professional to review your use of these items.
21. Do not use un-vented room heaters in bedrooms unless designed for the intended use by the manufacturer.
22. Clean regularly your chimney including the clean out door area to prevent the build up of debris and creosote which can cause a fire and carbon monoxide buildup. Check and insure no backdraft conditions of your chimney are present. Have it cleaned by a professional chimney sweep.
23. Do not overload electrical outlets or use extension cords in excess or under floor coverings. If you have a lot of extension cords you need more electrical outlets in your home. If you have any unsafe electrical conditions such as outlets that spark, broken fixtures, have hanging wires, open electrical boxes, rusted panels, rust in panel and on electrical parts, tripping fuses or breakers, have missing light fixtures, or other electrical conditions or problems, or suspect a problem, call a professional electrician for review immediately.
24. Clean the burners in the hot water tank, furnace, boiler, or your other gas fired appliances to insure proper combustion and operation. A qualified heating contractor can perform this operation or maintenance procedure.
25. Check all flues and vents to insure there are no holes in them, rusted, restricted (blocked), loose and unsecured, or are improperly connected. If you find something unsafe, stop using the appliance immediately and call a professional.
I hope the above information has been of assistance to you. Please call a professional if you have any doubts, questions, or are experiencing any of the above problems or need more information on any of the above or any other safety issue.
(c) Copyrighted 1989-2012 - Ronald C. Bachner - All rights reserved.