Home Safety – The Overlooked Home Improvement

by Rachel Laurendeau on April 19, 2012

I burned our dinner tonight and I’m glad I did. The smoke from the oven set off the smoke detector, which set off the security system, which led to a phone call from our monitoring company to make sure everything was ok. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to eat burnt casserole on a regular basis, but this was a great way to find out that the home safety measures that we’ve put into place really do work.

It’s easy to think of the cosmetic or structural changes we’d like to make to our homes while overlooking some of the most important areas that need to be addressed to ensure our family’s safety. In fact, if you are undertaking a home remodeling project, this is a great time to talk to your contractor and ensure that your house is up to current safety code requirements.

General Security

  • Be sure you have sufficient lighting in all areas of the house and backup flashlights in case of emergency.
  • Outdoor walkways and stairs should be free of obstructions and properly lit. Automatic lights are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Programmable timers are available for both indoor and outdoor lights. Gone are the days of single setting timers that go off at the same time each day while you are away on vacation. Sophisticated timers are now available to set off lights in different parts of your house and various times to make it look as though someone is home.
  • If you live in an older home, have an electrician update old and potentially dangerous electrical wiring and bring it up to current standards and safety codes.
  • Have a security system installed and monitored.
  • Test for radon, an invisible, odorless gas that can be cancer causing.

Fire Safety

  • Create an emergency escape plan and review it with your family on a regular basis.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every season. Replace the batteries regularly.
  • Check the expiration date on your smoke detectors and replace them before their best before date.
  • Have fire extinguishers in key places in the house and know how to use them.
  • You can have your smoke detectors and CO detectors hard wired and linked to each other. This way, if a there is smoke in one area of the house, all of the smoke detectors will sound, giving you more time to exit.

Taking your family’s safety seriously requires being prepared and mindful. To learn more about home safety and security measures, talk to your local home remodeling expert or home improvement specialist. You could also check with your local fire hall as they may also offer information and workshops.

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