This is a guest blog post by Reviews.com
Becoming a homeowner is an incredible and rewarding experience. However, as quickly as the excitement rushes over you, the reality of the responsibilities that accompany homeownership become apparent. To ease this process and avoid finding a costly hazard down the line, it’s important to take a moment to get acquainted with your home, run over a few safety precautions, and make an emergency plan. This checklist will help get you started!
While you’re still getting to know your home, this is a crucial part to pay attention to. If anything looks odd, it’s best to check it out ASAP to avoid what could become a potentially dangerous fire hazard. Get to know where important features like your meter and fuse box are, and watch them for anything that looks unusual.
Make sure you know how to shut them off in an emergency, although it’s highly recommended you reach out to a professional when dealing with your electrical system. If you don’t know where to start or what to look for, this article can help you identify important features to be watching for and can help you assess fire hazards and risks.
Pipes and water
Know where the shut off is! You almost never think of this until it is an emergency but when your toilet is suddenly flooding or a pipe under your sink bursts late at night, you’ll be grateful you took the extra time to identify where your water shut off is. While you’re giving your new home a good look over, also check for things like rust, corrosion, and visible leakage. It’s good to identify these potential problems and deal with them as soon as possible.
This one is simple – make sure you have them, test them, and monitor them! Both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are crucial for a safe home. Make sure they are evenly dispersed throughout the entire home and always in working order. While on that note, it also doesn’t hurt to keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Protocol for emergencies
Make a plan! If an emergency occurs, it helps to have important paperwork and other valuables in a fire safe/waterproof locked box. They’ll be safe if the house is on fire or if there is flooding, and will be all kept together and easy to grab in the case of an emergency evacuation. Make a plan with your family of what an emergency evacuation would look like. This might mean installing escape ladders to any window not on ground level and establishing a meeting place. Additionally, if it’s applicable for where you live, it’s important to identify a severe weather shelter.
Make a kit! The basics are a first aid kit, radio, and food and water for each person for three days. The Red Cross has a comprehensive list of what to get together for your emergency kit as well the option to purchase emergency supplies and kits directly from their site.
Protect your home against break-ins and burglary
Two million home burglaries are reported each year in the United States. To help protect your family and your new home, there are simple measures to take. Buy and install an alarm system or a home security system. Install new locks and bolts, especially if your home has had many previous owners or people that might have had access to the home. Use caution leaving spare keys outside and rather leave them with a family member or a trusted neighbor. Lock things like sheds, gates, and garages and don’t leave valuables in cars. Lastly, do not publicize vacations or other times your home will be empty; have a neighbor or friend watch the house, and collect newspaper or mail create the illusion that someone is home. The best way to protect your home is to be proactive.
- If applicable, watch for tripping hazards (loose flooring, poorly lit staircases, etc.) Consider a medical alert system if applicable for those in your home.
- Know how to turn it off. We touched briefly on knowing where the water shut off is but you should know how to turn off all your major utilities in the case of an emergency https://blog.allstate.com/20-days-to-ready-utility-shutoffs/
Be thorough, be proactive and be cautious. Being a new homeowner is an incredible and exciting thing, don’t let anything put that in jeopardy.
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