Each year, we make resolutions to improve our health, increase our savings and spend more quality time enjoying family and friends. But what about maintaining and improving our home safety? With a burglary occurring every 20 seconds, home security, safety and maintenance should be a top priority for everyone. Set some time aside over the coming weeks to conduct a home safety assessment.
The first thing to do when beginning a DIY home safety and security effort is to identify which areas of your home need to be inspected and where you have weak points. Follow this checklist and you’ll increase the safety and security of your home. By preventing future disasters, you’ll save yourself time and money.
- Prevent water from freezing in your pipes so they don’t burst. Make sure pipes that are turned on stay above 32 degrees Fahrenheit by adding extra insulation or keeping cabinet doors open for better airflow.
- Get a 72-hour kit for your home and car in case of an emergency.
- Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors monthly by holding the “test” button until you hear the loud siren. If it’s silent, replace the batteries or purchase a new detector.
- Add fire escape ladders in all second-story and higher rooms. In case of a fire, make sure everyone knows the safest and quickest escape route.
- Inspect your fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge to see if the needle is in the green, and replace or service it if it’s outside this zone. Also, examine the hose and nozzle for cracks, because you’ll need to replace your fire extinguisher if the locking pin on the handle is missing or the handle is broken.
- Ensure electrical outlets are covered and not overloaded. Add protective coverage if children are in the home.
- Install a water alarm in your basement to prevent flooding.
- Know where your gas and water are measured and where the shut off valves are in case of a leak.
- Inspect your outdoor lighting to see if any lights need to be added or replaced. Well-lit homes deter burglars and prevent injuries from falling on black ice or from other accidents. You may consider adding smart lights to your home so you can control when they are on and off using your smart phone.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of expired medications properly.
- Research security cameras and systems and add them to your home’s exterior before peak burglar season begins in the summer. Burglars are 10 percent more likely to rob homes in the summer months. Indoor and outdoor cameras are a great way to deter porch theft, and they’ll allow you to check in on your pets, children and home when you’re away.
- Check your roof for ice dams and icicles so that snow and ice don’t strain your roof, cause leaks, break gutters, or damage shingles.
- Post a safety resource contact sheet on your refrigerator. The sheet should include phone numbers for your doctors, the local police and fire departments, poison control, and emergency contacts. Being able to access this information quickly in an emergency is vital to your safety.
- Update and replace your home locks. Avoid placing the spare key under the front mat or in flower pots, as this is an obvious place for burglars to check. Instead, give your spare key to a trusted neighbor.
- Maintain your yard regularly. Trim shrubs and cut back large branches. An overgrown and unruly yard gives burglars lots of hiding places.
These 15 simple steps can significantly increase your safety and can protect your family and property from break-ins and disasters. Each step requires minimal time, and most are free. Your home should be a safe haven, and this DIY checklist is a great way to ensure your home is safeguarded and adequately prepared for an emergency.
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