If you want to keep yourself and your family safe, you’ll need several installations throughout your home to reduce the risk of a disaster and protect you in case one occurs. Natural disasters, like tornadoes or floods, could bring danger to your home, but it’s often internal threats, like fires or gas leaks, that go unnoticed and unprepared for.
The 7 Most Important Safety Features for Your Home
Fortunately, the most common and most effective safety features for households tend to be inexpensive and easy to install.
Important Safety Features to Consider
These are some of the best ways to improve your home safety:
Smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are small units designed to alert your family in the event of a fire. They rely on detecting particulate matter in the atmosphere, and if the matter hits a certain threshold, the alarms will resound loudly throughout the house. In the case of a fire, the highest risks you’ll face are suffocation and smoke inhalation, both of which can happen while you’re asleep before you ever realize there’s a fire.
A smoke alarm will ensure you and your family wake up and acknowledge the fire before it’s too late. Make sure you have at least one per floor, and one in or near every bedroom, and change the batteries at least twice a year.’
Carbon monoxide detectors. You’ll also want to have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that can have detrimental effects on human beings; in large enough quantities, it can be fatal. Fortunately, all it takes is a few dollars to get a detector and get alerted if there’s ever a carbon monoxide leak.
This is especially important if you use natural gas in your home, or if you have a gas fireplace. Again, you’ll want one of these on every floor of your home, and you’ll want to change the batteries regularly.
Fire extinguishers. Most people don’t think they need a fire extinguisher, but they’re relatively inexpensive, and if you ever need one, you’ll be glad you have it. Do note that there are many different types of fire extinguishers, coming in different sizes and using different materials to handle different types of fires.
Make sure you have one in the kitchen (where fires are most likely to occur) and consider installing one or two additional units throughout the house. You may need to inspect and/or replace these units periodically, as they can wear out if not used for many years.
A first-aid kit. First-aid kits are all-purpose kits designed to help you address nearly any type of injury or wound. Obviously, in a high-threat emergency, you’ll be dependent on an ambulance to take the injured person to the hospital, but even then, a first aid kit may be able to help you control the situation.
You’ll want to include things like adhesive tape, many shapes, and sizes of bandages, a tourniquet, super glue, cold packs, hot packs, plastic bags, antibiotic ointments, a thermometer, hydrogen peroxide, and many other materials. You’ll also want medications like pain relievers and any prescriptions your family members need on a regular basis, and a first aid manual so you know how to use everything.
Emergency ladders. If your house has two stories, it’s a good idea to include some emergency ladders in strategic locations, so your family members can get out of the house if going down the stairs is too dangerous. For example, you could include a small rope ladder in each second-floor bedroom, which can be unfurled and used as an easy escape.
Security cameras. Security cameras may seem like overkill, but these days, they’re ridiculously inexpensive and easy to control. Installing just a few security cameras, inside and outside your house, can help you keep an eye on things when you’re away, and deter crime in general. If someone does break-in, you’ll have a good chance of identifying them.
A safe. It may not keep you safe, but it can keep your most important items safe. Safes are notoriously hard to break into, and if you invest in a high-quality safe, it can keep whatever you put in it protected from dangers like floods and house fires.
Documenting Your Emergency Plan
While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to create an emergency plan or series of emergency plans. Talk with your family members about what you would do in the event of a fire, an earthquake, or some other unknown disaster, and run a drill to make sure you can all get out of the house in time—or operate mechanisms like fire extinguishers to prevent the problem from getting worse. The better prepared your family is, the better.