Home Safety Introduction

Soon after you move in, have a family meeting to design a home safety program. Each family member needs to learn and practice the program. Disasters may seem like unreal events that happen to other people. Unfortunately, fires and accidents happen all the time. Be prepared. Below is a list of safety suggestions for you and your family to follow:

Emergency numbers. Next to each telephone, keep a list of the numbers of the nearest police, fire stations, and hospital. Call the police non-emergency number to find out if 911 is available in your area.

Fire safety inspections. Many local fire departments will send a home inspector to show you fire hazards in your home. If your town does not offer this service, call your homeowner's insurance agent. He or she may be qualified to review fire safety.

Smoke detectors. The main cause of death in house fires is inhaling smoke. Put smoke detectors outside each bedroom and in or near both the kitchen and living room. If the detectors are battery operated, put in new batteries twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you turn the clocks forward and backward for daylight savings time. If your smoke detectors do not run on batteries, you still need to check them regularly. Loud, flashing smoke detectors can alert you to get out if your house catches on fire.

Fire extinguishers. Your kitchen and garage should each have a fire extinguisher. Place additional fire extinguishers on every floor of your house. Learn how to use them before an emergency. Fire extinguishers may help put out small fires. Do not try to fight a large fire with a fire extinguisher. Instead, leave your house immediately, and call for help.

Safety ladders. Fire can block your exit from a house. Chain-link ladders that you can store under a bed or in a closet can give you a way to escape from a second-story window.

First-aid kit. Keep a first-aid kit, with bandages and medications, in a place within easy reach of adults and well out of the reach of young children. Check the contents once or twice a year to make sure the medicines are not out of date and the kit is complete.

Carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas. Because you cannot see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill before anyone knows it is there. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector near where you and your family sleep. To be extra cautious, install a second detector near your home's heating source.