Home Safety Tips

Your home is one of your largest investments, so you want to keep it safe, not to mention you and your loved ones. Remember that homes that appear vulnerable are going to be the most likely target for thieves. There are simple things that you can do to help keep your home safe, and to thwart the bad guys from doing you harm.

1. Never open the door for anyone that you don't know. Thieves are clever, and will pose as delivery drivers or utility company representatives, or just door-to-door salesmen.

2. Install security cameras with signage that you have security, or at least post the signs. And most importantly, have sufficient outdoor lighting, preferably with motion detectors. The dark home on the street is the one likely to get hit.

3. While on vacation or gone for the night don't post on social media where you're at or that you're traveling. Crooks look for these posts.

4. Make sure that all doors and windows are locked when you're home or away. Many thieves look for the easiest way to slip into your home; ie, through an unlocked door or window.

5. If someone gets into your home, obviously call 911 if you're able, but just as important is to try and escape. You and your family should have an escape route planned from each room. If you're surprised by an intruder you may not have the opportunity to call 911, so getting out of the house is essential. Then you or a family member can call for help or go to a neighbor's house to ask for help. You never want to be imprisoned in your own house with someone intent on doing you harm.

6. Keep your garage door closed. All an intruder has to do is walk into an open garage, close the garage door from the inside, and then no one can see him or her as they walk right into your home.

7. Make sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and that your water heater is double-strapped to code.  

8. Be aware of these commonly overlooked fire hazards in your home:
Dryer Air Ducts: The National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately 15,000 fires occur each year as a result of dirty or clogged dryer vents. These are the tubes that run from the dryer to the exterior of your home. Vents can build up with lint and debris, which can get clogged and overheated, potentially causing a fire. Ideally, these vents should be professionally cleaned at least every three months, and no longer than once a year. And always remember to clean out the dryer's lint trap after each use. 

Wood-Buring Fireplace Flue: The flue is the duct that runs from where the wood burns to the top of the chimney. When you burn wood, the smoke produced by the fire contains unburned wood particles. The smoke cools as it passes through the chimney, leaving condensation on the walls of the flue lining in the form of creosote, which is combustable. As it builds up, it can pose a fire hazard. A professional chimney sweep can ensure that buildups and blockages are remedied.

Overloaded Sockets: Overloaded electrical sockets can pose a severe fire hazard. If too many appliances are plugged into a single outlet, the electrical circuits can become overloaded, causing wires to melt and potentially catch fire.

And lastly, never throw water on a grease fire! Instead, turn off the stovetop and cover the pan to suffocate the fire (if you can do so safely). Do not try and move the pot or pan. A fire extinguisher can also be used if necessary. Do not use a waterbased or class A-only extinguisher.


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