Basic Home Safety

Your home is your sanctuary and, therefore, you should certainly take whatever steps are necessary to make your home as safe as possible. Whether you are trying to protect yourself from natural elements, from unwanted guests or potentially devastating accidents, following these basic tips will help you keep your Oahu home safe.

Buy a Fire Extinguisher

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but more than one fire extinguisher will help to ensure your home is as safe as possible. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having at least one extinguisher for each floor of a home.

When choosing a fire extinguisher, it is important to know that extinguishers are classified as A, B, C or a combination of these. These classifications indicate the type of fire for which the extinguisher can be used, with the three categories being ordinary combustible, flammable liquids or electrical. Many fire extinguishers sold at home stores are classified for all three. When reading the label, you will notice a number in front of each letter. This number indicates the extinguisher’s effectiveness against each type of fire, with higher numbers indicating greater effectiveness.

Both rechargeable and disposable extinguishers are available for use in the home. Rechargeable extinguishers cost more upfront, but are less expensive than buying new disposable extinguishers each time the pressure gauge shows it is time to be replaced. As a general rule of thumb, a 10-pound extinguisher is best for a garage or workshop, while a 5-pound is good for a kitchen or laundry room. 2-pound extinguishers are best for cars. Stove-top extinguishers are also good for mounting on the range hood over the stove.

Install Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

To further keep your family safe from fire as well as carbon monoxide poisoning, you should install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. It is particularly important to place these detectors near bedrooms to ensure you hear the detector if it goes off while you are asleep. Keep in mind that detectors should be replaced at least every ten years and should be checked monthly to ensure they are working. Batteries should also be changed twice per year.

Create a Contact List for Emergency Personnel

In an emergency situation, saving time is essential. To ensure you get the help that you need in a timely manner, maintain a list of all of your emergency contacts and their phone numbers. Some suggestions of people to include on the list are as follows:

  • Doctors, including specialists
  • Poison Control
  • Fire Department
  • Police
  • Health insurance (including your policy number)
  • Family members and close friends

This information should be easily available to anyone who is inside of your home, preferably kept by your telephone. If you do not have a landline in your home, choose another area of the home where the list can be easily found.

Put Together a Disaster Kit

In the worst-case scenario, you may find yourself needing to leave your home quickly. In this situation, you will want to have a bag already packed and ready to go. Items that should be in your disaster kit include:

  • 1 gallon of water per person for each day with a minimum supply for three days
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Can opener
  • Extra cell phone battery or a solar charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Safety matches
  • Candles
  • Hand crank or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Copies of vital documents
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Food and water for pets that will travel with you
  • Cash

By keeping all of these safety tips in mind, you will be sure to be able to handle any situation that arrives in your home.

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