Our home. We love coming home to it, resting in it, and just generally being home. Our homes are our safe places.
Or are they?
Getting our home ready for an emergency was not at the top of my list of things to do. That was really bad of me, but I was more focused on other areas of preparedness. This year, however, I have been made more aware of the fact that my home needs some improvements and some safety/emergency equipment. The realization that I was slacking in this area hit me hard and made me question how we would do if there was an emergency. I had the feeling the answer would be not very well.
The time to get these things done is now. If you are not ready for emergencies at home, would you really be ready for emergencies anywhere else? These are the four areas that I am working on in my home and I bet you need to either work on these or at least check them out.
Fire safety has been at the top of my mind. We have always had a plan to know what to do in case of a fire, but I knew I needed more in the way of fire safety equipment. In the last month, I have purchased:
- 4 fire extinguishers
- 1 Two story escape ladder
- 2 new smoke and heat detectors
- 1 new carbon monoxide detector
I only had two one-time use fire extinguishers that weren't going to do much except put out a small stove fire. We needed more and in more places beside the kitchen. I have smoke detectors, but they do not work anymore or are faulty. This is my fault for letting them get this way and it is time to take care of this issue. I also bought a carbon monoxide detector for the shop because we have a propane heater in there now. I don't want my family or myself to pass out while working on a project!
Fire safety also involves keeping an updated plan for escape routes and having a safe spot for everyone to meet. Also having a fireproof safe for your valuables and papers is also vital. Keeping a to-go bag with your family's vital information and an updated phone list is also a key item.
Another area of home emergency preparedness I have been working on is organization. Quite frankly, this one is a little tough for me. However, knowing where everything is and having it ready to use in an instant is beyond valuable!
For example, we have quite a few tools in the house. They are all in a cabinet right now in small toolboxes and totes. We know where they are, but they are not very well organized and we have doubles and triples of a lot of the tools. They are also mixed up with parts that need their own place. We just bought a rolling tool box/cabinet to put in the basement to organize the tools. We will go through all the tools and keep the ones we need in the house. The extras will then go to the garage and the shop as needed. This way we will know exactly where the tools are and be able to grab exactly the tool we need.
Keeping your emergency supplies organized and handy can be a life saver. Whether it be tools for fixing that leaking pipe quickly or shutting off the gas to your house, guns and ammo for protection, or the fire extinguisher for putting out a small fire, you need to know where your supplies are and have them ready to go.
One area of home emergency preparedness is not one many people think of. Our homes have a lot of stuff in them. We like our stuff, but that same stuff may be the one thing that prevents you from getting out of the house in case of an emergency.
We all need to declutter our homes. We all need to make sure we have clear walkways in our escape routes and stuff in the way can prevent us from leaving. Keeping floors cleaned up and clear of clutter can help us get out if we need to or get to our emergency supplies. Keeping stairs and rooms clean can help us get out or attend to the emergency in a timely matter.
If you have clutter in the way or just a tiny path to walk through the house, you are risking injury or even losing your chance to get out of the house if necessary. Emergency personnel might not be able to get to you if they have to wade through your things to find you.
Take care of the clutter. Figure out what you truly need and find a home for it in the house. Get organized with your clutter and keep the walkways and floors clear to be able to respond in an emergency situation.
The last home emergency preparedness area to work on is to fix the little things around the house.
- Fix those loose plug-ins.
- Fix those ripped window screens.
- Fix the loose or non-functioning door latches.
- Fix the broken windows.
- Make sure your locks are good on the doors and windows.
- Patch the holes in the ceiling, walls, and roof.
- Fix the leaking gutters.
- Replace light fixtures that seem to burn out a lot.
- Make sure your outdoor lighting works and replace those fixtures that don't work.
- Make sure your electrical system don't have any shorts or old wires. Fix what needs to be fixed.
I am not talking about remodeling the house or adding on to the house. I am talking about fixing the little things that we always want to sweep under the rug and shouldn't ignore. Those little things can add to up to something big like a fire, a break-in, an injury, further property damage, and so on. Not having these items fixed could compromise your home security and endanger your family's lives.
Make a list of what needs to be done, make a trip to the hardware store, and knock out a few things on the list this weekend. You will be really happy you did and your house will look and feel better!
What is on your home emergency list to get done?
Thanks for reading,