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How safe is your home? There are 6 things to look at and review from spare keys, locking up, outdoor security to outdoor items and property.
Here is a convenient checklist from Real Simple
Electrical Cords and Outlets
- Check for frayed wires. Repair or replace any loose or frayed wires on all electrical devices.
- Follow the path of cords. No cords should run under rugs or across doorways.
- Baby-proof. If you have any small children in your house, place plastic safety covers over unused outlets.
- Rethink extension cords. Consider adding electrical outlets where you currently rely on extension cords.
- Check for a faulty electrical system. Feel all outlets and plugs to see if any are warm; if so, have an electrician check them.
- Don’t overload the system. Make sure that you’ve followed manufacturers’ directions about maximum wattage of lamp bulbs and outlet requirements for plugs.
- And don’t overload any one outlet. Be certain that you have no more than one high-wattage appliance plugged into a single outlet.
- Examine the outside vents. They should be properly sealed and clear of obstruction to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the house. Recheck during and after a snowstorm.
- Pick the right wood. If you use a fireplace or a woodstove, stock up on dry seasoned wood, which burns without producing a lot of creosote. A buildup of creosote—soot—in the chimney or flue can be dangerous, causing chimney fires.
- Hire a chimney sweep. Have flues and chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional annually.
- Inspect wood-burning stoves twice monthly. Make sure the door latch closes properly. The room should have a working smoke detector. And never let a child use the stove unattended.
- Inspect water heaters annually. The temperature should be set at no higher than 120 degrees to prevent burns. Never leave children alone near a water heater, and keep combustible and flammable materials well away from it.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors generously. These should be on each floor of the house, covering all sleeping areas.
- Test alarms monthly. Replace any that don’t work. (In any case, alarms should be replaced every 10 years.)
- Replace batteries annually. Or sooner, if the alarm chirps.
- Clean all detectors. Vacuum each grille.
- Post the fire department’s carbon-monoxide-reporting emergency number. If it differs from 911, keep the number by every phone.
- Demonstrate the sound of each detector. Family members need to know the difference.
- Place extinguishers strategically. Keep one in the kitchen and one on every floor. And learn how to use them.
- Replace extinguishers when necessary. Follow the schedule suggested by the manufacturer, and always replace an extinguisher that appears damaged.
- Consider installing a sprinkler system.
- Create an escape plan with two exit routes in case of fire. Practice it twice a year (once at night) with the whole family. For details, see the National Fire Protection Association’s website, nfpa.org.
- Choose a meeting place. Set a plan for meeting up in case of a local or national disaster. See nfpa.org.
- If you live in a two-story house, buy a rescue ladder. It should attach to an upper-level window casing to provide an alternate escape route.
- Install a sturdy deadbolt lock on every door to the outside. This should include the door into the house from the garage.
- In any room with window bars, make sure at least one has a quick-release mechanism. Replace or retrofit as needed.
- Install motion-sensing floodlights in the backyard.
- Keep your house looking lived-in when you’re away. Arrange for the lawn to be mowed, stop mail delivery, install timers for selected lights, leave a car in the driveway, and leave drapes or shades open at least a bit.
- Advertise prominently any home security system you have installed. You might think about putting up signs even if you don’t have a system.
- Examine your landscaping. Trim shrubs and trees near windows and doors that provide hiding places for burglars, and prune limbs that serve as ladders to upper windows.
- Purchase a metal bar or a solid-wood dowel to insert in the tracking of sliding glass doors. This will prevent anyone from opening them.
- Put your street number, not your name, on your mailbox.
- Give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or nearby friend. Thieves know all about fake rocks and other hide-a-key tricks.
You can find more and complete your own checklist at Real Simple.
It’s only a few weeks until November and the average high is 46 degrees and the average low is 31 degrees. If you haven’t done so already, you need to have your furnace checked. Here are some safety tips for you to stay warm in the coming months.
Before winter arrives, the most important thing you need to do for yourself and your family is to ensure that your furnace is operational, safe, and as energy-efficient as you can make it. When that first cold day hits, you don't want to turn on the furnace only to discover that it isn't working. (A lot can happen during the warmer months to affect your furnace.)
No doubt about it, your best bet is to call an HVACR professional and have them come out and inspect your furnace. During a regular maintenance inspection, the repairman also will clean the furnace, change the filter, check for leaks and unhealthy gases, and ensure that everything is operational. You also can (and should if you can afford it) pay them to clean the furnace ducts.
To help you avoid problems, here are a few precautions that you should take when using your furnace:
Here are a few other things that you can do yourself:
- Change the furnace filters regularly. Some suggest every three months; others suggest monthly. At least take a look at the filter after 30 days of operation. You'll be able to tell if it needs to be changed. If your filter still looks pretty good, you can put off changing it.
- Stock up on filters during the warmer months. You often can find a bargain on furnace filters and other winter items during those hot summer months.
- Remove any items you have stored near the furnace, particularly anything that is likely to catch fire. Also remove any household items that are suddenly sitting on top of or in front of your air ducts and return vents.
- If you have a gas furnace, contact your gas company and have them fill 'er up. Gas is certainly much cheaper to buy during the summer than in the middle of a January cold spell.
- If you have hot-water radiator(s), bleed the valves. Open the valves slightly and close them again when water starts to appear.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Make sure to periodically test the alarms and change the batteries every year or more often if needed.
Physical disability—impaired vision, hearing, or mobility— doesn’t prevent you from being a victim of crime. Common sense actions can reduce your risk. ◗ Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for the bus or subway.
- Send a message that you’re calm, confident, and know where you’re going.
- Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
- Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, or stores that are open and accessible.
- Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
- Put good locks on all your doors. Police recommend double-cylinder, deadbolt locks, but make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
- Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
- Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a frontline defense against crime.
- If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message—giving your name, address, and type of disability to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
- Ask your police department to conduct a free home security survey to help identify your individual needs.
Out and About
- If possible, go with a friend.
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
- If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely shut.
- Always carry your medical information in case o an emergency.
- Consider keeping a cellular phone or installing a CB radio in your vehicle.
On Public Transportation
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers.
- Stay alert. Don’t doze or daydream.
- If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say “Leave me alone.” If that doesn’t work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.
Take a Stand!
- Join, or help organize, a Neighborhood Watch group. Make sure their meetings are accessible to people with disabilities. For example, do they need a sign language interpreter? Can individuals who use walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs enter the meeting place?
- Work with local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims or witnesses of crime. Role-play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
- Work with a rehabilitation center or advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities.
Article from NCPC.org
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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.