You may already know that you should always have basic safety supplies on hand, such as first aid kits and flashlights. Unfortunately, not all homeowners actually make the effort to keep their supplies stocked. Some might buy these items once, but then allow them to expire, rendering them useless. Don’t let this happen, as home safety supplies can protect the home from damage as well as protect the occupants of the home from injury. Here’s a list of the top five items you should always have on hand.
First Aid Kit –
The most common and obvious piece of home safety equipment is a first aid kit- no matter where you live: Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Delaware, etc. However, not all kits are created equal. The Dallas Morning News presented a good primer on what should be kept in a kit, including anti-bacterial ointment and bandages. Another important factor for first aid kits is replacing items that have expiration dates. Many medicines or sterile supplies have a limited shelf life. You should go through your kit regularly to ensure it is up-to-date.
Most experts do not recommend candles as a solution during power outages, as open flames can cause fires and create a bigger problem. Flashlights and glow sticks, on the other hand, are safe and very portable, allowing you to move around freely in the darkness. With flashlights, be sure you also have an ample supply of batteries, though it’s also common to find flashlights with solar chargers or those that are powered by hand cranks, eliminating the reliance on batteries.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms-
Smoke detectors can save your life in the event of an undetected fire. These are especially helpful at night when you are asleep and a fire has started in another part of your home. Another danger is carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless. With the cold weather, many homeowners are exposed to the dangers of carbon monoxide due to improvised heating solutions that generate the gas. Many alarms can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, but they must be in good working order to protect your home. Be sure to regularly replace the batteries and test the devices.
According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, only 25% of homeowners have a kitchen fire extinguisher. This number is far too low. Not only should you always have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but it’s also a good idea to have more in other parts of the home if you have a very large house. Fire extinguishers also have a shelf life, so you need to inspect yours regularly and replace them as necessary.
Even with a smoke detector and fire extinguisher, you might find yourself in a situation where the best thing to do is to leave your home. You need to have mapped out an escape route for every member of the household, from every room. If you need to leave from an upper story window, make sure you have an escape ladder in place for just such an emergency. Your escape plan should also include a safe gathering spot for the family after everyone has left the house. This way, you can get an accurate headcount of who is out and who is still inside.