When it comes to your home, you want to make sure you have everything on hand you need to create a safe environment for you and your family. But what exactly do you need to make your home safe? Here are six must-haves you need to ensure your home is safe for your family and yourself:
1. Smoke and carbon monoxide detector
A smoke and carbon monoxide detector is a must to keep you and your family safe. You can either buy each detector separately or purchase a model that detects both. Either way, you need to make sure that you have a detector monitoring the air in your home for both smoke and carbon monoxide at all time.
You should have at least one smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home (so, for example, one in the basement, one in the ground floor, one upstairs, and one in the attic). Test them regularly and replace the batteries at least twice a year to ensure they’re working properly.
2. Fire extinguisher
House fires are more common than you’d imagine. In 2015, there were over 365,000 house fires in the United States. And while you hope that a fire will never happen to you, you still need to have an extinguisher on hand just in case.
Keep your fire extinguisher in or easily accessible from the kitchen; most home fires start in the kitchen, so you want to have your extinguisher close should a fire occur. If you have a multi-level home, you should also keep a fire extinguisher in your bedroom should a fire break out while you’re asleep.
3. An exit plan
When all else fails and your home becomes unsafe, you want to make sure you and your family all know how to get out of the home quickly and safely.
Develop an exit plan that allows you and your family to safely exit the home from all areas of the house in case of an emergency; you should have an exit route from all levels of the home so that no matter where you are when an emergency occurs, your family knows where and how to get out.
Meet with your family at least once a year to review the exit plan and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
4. First aid kit
Minor accidents are inevitable in your home; your children might fall and scrape their knee, you may burn yourself while making dinner. These things happen. But to keep minor injuries from escalating, you want to make sure to have a first-aid kit on hand.
First aid kits should include:
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Pain reliever
- Alcohol Cleansing Pads
- First Aid Tape
- Ice Pack
- Finger Splint
Depending on your family’s needs, you might need additional items, like an Epi-Pen for allergic reactions. You can pick up a first-aid kit to suit your needs just about anywhere, including First Aid Store and Amazon.
5. Contact sheet
In case an emergency happens when you’re not home, you want to have a contact sheet full of important contacts and information so whoever is home with your family or children will know who to call and how to get in touch with them.
Include your own contact information, the contact information of friends and family that live close to your home, your family doctor, and all emergency numbers, like the police station and fire station. You’ll also want to leave insurance information in case it’s needed.
6. Disaster kit
In case of a major emergency, like an earthquake, that would cause you to hunker down in your home (or leave in a hurry), having a disaster kit on hand can be a lifesaver.
Your disaster kit should contain the following:
- At least 3 days worth of water and non-perishable food items
- A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- Copies of birth certificates, passports, insurance cards, and other important documents
- Can opener
- Disposable utensils
- Pet food (if you have an animal)
- A backup cell phone battery and/or a solar charger
In an ideal world, you won’t have to use any of these safety items. But these six must-haves are essential in keeping your family safe in case of an emergency.