-Written by Lauren Pezzulo
You did it – you’re a homeowner! Congratulations are in order, but first, it’s time to think about how you’ll set up your home for maximum safety. After all, just because you had the property inspected before you bought, doesn’t mean you have all the hazard equipment you’d need in case of a really big storm, or that you’re ready to handle a fire or other disaster. Take some time to get acquainted with your new home’s emergency features and design a custom survival plan with this preparedness checklist.
Keep your electrical on the up and up
It’s great when sparks fly between two people. But actual, real sparks coming from your outlets? Not so hot. It’s easy to think about our outlets as workhorses that can take any electrical challenge we dish out, but you want to be careful not to overload them, or you’ll see sparks fly for real. Make sure your major appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, and stoves are plugged directly into an outlet, and not into an extension cord or power strip. Meanwhile, if you feel a small charge when you use your devices, if your lights flicker, or if you smell burning, it could be a sign that you’ve got an overloaded outlet and need to redistribute your power sources.
Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Okay, so smoke detector safety is admittedly a bit of a no-brainer, but it still doesn’t hurt to give your alarms a little TLC. The National Fire Protection Association notes that malfunctioning or missing alarms were involved in three out of every five fire-related deaths, so you definitely can’t be too careful when it comes to this important piece of equipment. Replace the batteries twice a year or every time daylight savings time changes if you need help remembering. Make sure your new home has both smoke alarms and CO detectors installed on every floor and in every bedroom.
Make an escape plan for emergencies
In no time at all, you’ll be able to walk through your home with your eyes closed, but you don’t want to have to stumble around if an emergency strikes. Get the whole family together and tour the entire house, making a note of each window and exit. Together, discuss what you’ll do in the event of a fire or other disaster. Assign a meeting place nearby to go to once you’re out of the home and in the clear. If you notice windows that are painted shut or permanently stuck, have a set of replacement windows put in – your safety may just depend on it!
Burglar-proof your home
Even if your new neighborhood has the coveted “Starbucks effect,” you may not be immune to the danger posed by burglaries. Professional robbers often target higher-end homes, where they can make off with expensive electronics, jewelry, or even cars! A set of motion-sensor-controlled outdoor lights and quality locks on the windows can help ward off some attackers. Meanwhile, you’ll also want to ensure that any window bars you have installed contain quick-release mechanisms so you can get out of the house fast if you need to make an emergency escape.
Build an emergency preparedness kit
So far, we’ve focused mostly on escape plans — how you can route a way out of your home in a time of crisis. But what if you’re stuck inside your home in an emergency? The answer is an emergency preparedness kit. Filled with canned foods, bottled water, and emergency staples like extra diapers, dog food, or prescription medicine – basically anything you’d need in a larger disaster – preparedness kits are meant to cover all the essentials to go up to 72 hours without leaving your home. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Build a Kit website for a full list of what to include.
Prevent falls and slips with proper safety equipment
Not every danger lurks outside your home. Even the tub or the stairs can be a threat, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. Make sure your new pad has all the lighting you need to prevent falls — especially taking care to light both the top and the bottom of any stairways. A number of manufacturers now produce Wi-Fi-controlled lighting that can be programmed to come on when certain actions occur, like when you open your front door, for instance – something to consider when you’re thinking of lighting options for your home. Also clear up any tripping hazards; toss slippery rugs and make sure that cords don’t lie across the middle of the room. Place non-slip mats in all the tubs and showers and lay absorbent doormats at entryways. After all, the only good accident is that one that doesn’t happen at all!
This was a guest post for Movers Who Blog by Lauren Pezzullo. Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who’s passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She’s currently writing her debut novel.