When it comes to home security, homeowners must take a few necessary precautions to keep their households safe. In fact, it is hard to be too careful when preparing for common dangers and threats.
Most home safety tips talk about the importance of preventing fires, preparing against extreme weather and protecting the home from potential burglars. If you are a homeowner and have not taken precautions in any of these areas, the time to act is now.
Yet even though it’s important to prepare for large dangers, most household dangers are more subtle and require smaller fixes. For example, did you know that a carbon monoxide detector is one of the most important tools in protecting against hidden dangers? It alerts homeowners to the presence of a deadly odorless and colorless gas. Without it, residents would never know to evacuate.
Luckily, complete home safety is easy to achieve with a few simple steps. There are many ways to protect yourself, your family and your home from common risks and dangers. To learn more about securing your home and preventing tragedy, review the sections below.
Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector is essential to have in every home, no matter where you live. Many homeowners falsely believe that these detectors are only necessary in houses with fuel-burning appliances. However, carbon monoxide (CO) can be present in many situations.
This is why every home safety checklist must include a CO detector. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly in large amounts. CO originates from many sources, including:
- Wood stoves.
- Wood-pellet stoves.
- Oil, propane or natural gas appliances.
- Space heaters.
- Gas and diesel sources, like cars and generators.
A carbon monoxide detector measures the amount of CO in the air. Some small levels of CO are normal in houses with fuel-burning appliances. However, long-term exposure to high levels of CO causes residents to feel ill and may lead to death.
As with smoke detectors, residents should install one CO detector on each floor of the home. Other suggestions include one detector outside each sleeping area of the home in a common hallway. It is also a good idea to place a CO detector in the basement or the garage, especially if there are fuel-burning appliances in those areas.
Avoid installing a carbon monoxide detector in areas of high humidity, like a bathroom or sauna. It may give false readings or become defective. Also, do not install a CO detector anywhere that it could overeat, such as in the path of direct sunlight. Finally, keep CO detectors at least 5 feet away from cooking appliances.
Home Security Alarms
Home security alarms alert homeowners to potential intruders, burglars and other emergencies. A home security system comes with video cameras, motion sensors and wireless communication devices that provide complete protection.
DIY home security systems are ideal for homeowners interested in installing, connecting and monitoring their home security devices on their own. Rather than scheduling an installation with a team of professionals, they can purchase the system, order the equipment and begin the installation themselves.
There are many home security systems on the market, each one with unique features and various types of monitoring services. Some DIY home security systems involve monthly fees for professional monitoring. Others are completely self-monitoring, meaning the homeowner is responsible for viewing video feeds and recordings.
When purchasing a home safety and security system, you should keep these features in mind:
- Mobile app: This lets you monitor your home no matter where you are. Receive push notifications, alerts and emails when something is amiss.
- Connection type: Choose from wired or wireless connectivity. Wireless systems typically come with multiple sensors that communicate with one another.
- Monitoring: Decide whether you want professional monitoring or would rather monitor your system on your own. This can save you money in monthly fees.
Install a Fire Alarm for Home Safety
A home fire alarm can be the difference between life and death. This makes fire alarms essential in every household. Homeowners should install at least one smoke detector on each floor of their house. It is best to install them inside or close to bedrooms. If several bedrooms share one common hallway, one smoke detector in the middle of the hallway may suffice.
Some home fire alarm systems are a bit more high-tech. Rather than beeping to alert residents to presence of smoke, the system will speak loudly over an intercom system. This is ideal for residents who tend to be heavy sleepers.
Aside from installing smoke detectors, homeowners should devise a home safety fire evacuation plan and share it with all members of the family. Households with young children should practice the plan to ensure all members remember the important evacuation steps, like staying away from hot door handles and crawling on the floor to avoid breathing in smoke.
Be sure to check the batteries on smoke detectors twice a year. Faulty smoke detectors do nothing to protect your family from fire. Some detectors beep when the battery begins to die, but do not rely on this warning sign. Schedule regular maintenance once every six months.
General Safety Tips
Home security is a broad subject that covers a wide array of tips and techniques. It is more than just installing a few devices and leaving the rest to technology. Homeowners must remain vigilant and take extra precautions to avoid common household dangers.
Many tips for home safety focus on preventing illness and injury in children and babies. Households with babies and young children must take time to baby-proof certain areas of the home for extra protection. This includes:
- Locking medicine cabinets.
- Keeping cleaning agents and poisonous chemicals out of reach.
- Covering sharp corners with foam or soft padding.
- Installing gates near staircases.
- Covering door handles with childproof slips.
- Keeping blind cords tied up top.
- Anchoring heavy furniture to the walls.
Other home safety tips include suggestions for keeping the exterior of the home secure. These include:
- Ensuring all locks and bolts are tight and secure.
- Hiding spare keys in clever places.
- Keeping garage doors closed.
- Looking before opening the door.
- Securing sliding glass doors with wooden or metal poles.
- Keeping drapes or blinds shut.