Many people will be entertaining family and friends in their homes over the next couple of weeks. With planning for the festivities in full swing, it's important to remember to take care of the pesky little safety issues that can easily get swept to the side in favour of more pleasant tasks like baking and decorating for parties and get-togethers.
However, if you are a homeowner, it's vital that you have a plan in place in case of any safety concern or accident. For your family and for anyone who will be a guest in your home. Here are a few important precautions for you to take as a homeowner in order to safeguard you celebrations this Christmas and New Years.
Fire Evacuation Plan
Do you have a family fire evacuation plan? Do all family members know how to get out from each room, in case of a fire. If your home has a second floor, you need a special escape plan to get to the ground level. It also means that little ones need to know where to go in the event that they have to leave the home without you. Children should be briefed on neighbours who can keep them until help arrives, and to avoid children running back into the house to search for parents, siblings and pets.
Fire extinguishers must always be easy to reach and it's a good idea to have one in high risk areas, like the kitchen or family room with a working fireplace. Remember to check your fire extinguishers at least once a year. To help you remember, make a habit of doing it when you set your clocks to Daylight Saving Time. It's also a good idea to remind all family members, how to operate the fire extinguisher. Replace a fire extinguisher that is 10 years or older or has been damaged.
In some areas, it is a legal requirement to have smoke alarms in your home. Whether or not it is a legal requirement, having smoke alarms is an excellent precaution. Check smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and do the test to ensure that it is in good operating condition.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless, poisonous gas and CM detectors are important to have in your home in order to let you know if there are high levels of carbon monoxide anywhere in your home. Check them at least once a year and avoid idling your car in the garage or near the windows of your home. Make a habit of checking your fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors all at the same time. Setting up Christmas lights is the perfect time to check everything, since you have the ladder out anyways.
Minimize Fire Hazards
Ensure that any piles of paper, leftover paint, chemicals, firewood and other clutter is safely stored or disposed of, as they can be a fire hazard. If you no longer need any hazardous materials, you should safely dispose of them at a community toxic waste center. Never put hazardous materials into the garbage. Be careful not to keep newspaper or firewood too close to the wood burning fireplace and never leave a fire burning unattended at night or while you are away from the house.
Collect your valuable jewelry and important documents like; financial papers, investment documents, birth certificates, immigration documents, wills and property deeds and store them in a safe place. For example, a fireproof box, a wall safe or off-site safety deposit box. Ensure that precious items with a high monetary value have been photographed and registered with your home insurance company.
In Case of Emergency
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (including 911, poison prevention line,doctors, relatives, neighbours and friends) close to the phone. Make sure babysitters and your children are aware of the list, also make sure children of all ages have their phone numbers, home address and parents cell number memorized in case of emergency.