The emergencies for which we prepare aren’t always of the total societal collapse variety. Even if a disaster isn’t global, or even regional, it can still be the “end of the world as you know it.”
Imagine losing your entire home to a fire.
Or a member of your family dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Or the loss of your household’s income because the primary wage earner was severely injured in an accident at home.
These things might not even affect your immediate neighbor but would be no less of a disaster.
It is important to take the steps necessary to protect your family from relatively common emergencies. For starters, each level of your home should be outfitted with smoke detectors. They should be in good working order and tested every six months. Place one near the bedrooms so you’ll be sure to hear it in the middle of the night.
While we’re on the subject of fires, have you devised and practiced an evacuation plan? Each member of your family should know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. How should they leave the home and where do they go?
Have a good quality fire extinguisher in the kitchen, as this is where many home fires start. It is important to know how to use one properly so get in touch with your local fire department for guidance. They may offer to show you with a hands on demonstration.
Each bedroom should have at least one working flashlight. This can be difficult to accomplish when you have smaller children as they’ll look at it as a toy. Do the best you can to stress to them the importance of having a working flashlight in case of emergencies. Each bedroom should also have one of those small air horns. The reason for that is if someone is trapped in the room, the sound of that horn will be much louder than just a shout.
Carbon monoxide detectors are critical. Position them near your furnace and any other potential sources of CO coming into your home.
When working on projects, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. I’m one of those people who hates wearing things like ear plugs and safety glasses. But, I do recognize the need for them and do give in from time to time when my wife badgers me. Heavy duty work gloves should be worn when dealing with brush and other debris to avoid splinters, punctures, and other not-so-fun things.
If you don’t have any, consider buying a pair of steel toed work boots for at least the adults in the family. You can sometimes find them used at thrift stores. I wear mine all the time when working in the garage or around the house.
Masks should be worn any time you’re dealing with dust and airborne debris as well as fumes. N95 masks are ideal as they are also useful to prevent germs from entering your body through the nose or mouth. Consider adding a few to each bedroom to help with smoke inhalation if there is a house fire.
When using ladders, be careful to not overextend your reach. Ensure the ladder is on a solid, level surface. If at all possible, have a spotter in case you do fall. Not that they’ll catch you but rather they can get help if needed.
Read all instructions for any power tools and be sure you completely and totally understand how they are properly used. Rushing a job is just asking for trouble.
Your assignments this week:
1) Test all smoke and CO detectors. Replace batteries as needed.
2) If you don’t have them already, invest in a few good quality fire extinguishers.
3) Start stocking up on and using the other safety gear mentioned above. Remember, the best gear in the world won’t help you if you don’t use it.