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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Home Protection Guide: 29 Tips To Protect Your Home Or Business From Financial, Structural, And Natural Disasters

8/1/2016 (Permalink)

Keep yourself, your family, and your employees safe by following basic home and business safety guidelines.

Your home’s safety and its value are keys to living well, enjoying comfort, and staying financially sound. Yet many homeowners neglect to take easy steps to make their homes safer, avoid structural damage, protect the home from natural disasters, and help maintain property value. What home disasters can you easily avoid? Read these 29 tips and you may prevent a home safety nightmare, save money, and sleep better at night.

1. Test for radon.

This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Test every three years. A tightly sealed home increases your risk.

2. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor.

Many homes have CO alarms on the main floor and the floor where bedrooms are. But you should have carbon monoxide detectors on all floors, including the basement.

3. Check your smoke detectors.

Do you have enough of them in your home? Are they in good working order? Have you replaced the batteries within the last year?

4. Know about surprising items that can go up in flames.

Battery-charged appliances, paper and cloth towels, and dryer lint are three items people don’t think of when they think of the fundamentals of home fire safety. Any of them could start a fire. Take precautions.

5. Replace 10-year-old electric blankets.

After 10 years, heating pads and electric blankets can become fire hazards. Replace them if they have charred spots, frayed or cracked electrical cords, or are old.

6. Toss out old space heaters.

Space heaters are a prime cause of household fires. Protect your home by replacing old space heaters with the newer models that turn off automatically if they tip over or get too hot.

7. Check your house for mold every 3-5 years.

Mold damages your respiratory and immune systems. It can grow in hidden places like inside your home’s  walls. Buy a do-it-yourself kit or hire SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield to detect mold every 3-5 years.

8. If you must smoke, do so only outside your house.

More fire deaths are caused by smoking inside the home than are caused by any other factor. Always dampen butts and ashes before throwing them away.

9. Be aware of and check potentially dangerous products like toasters.

Every year common toasters start thousands of household fires. Protect your home by cleaning out the crumbs and unplugging your toaster when it’s not in use.

10. Place critical household papers in a fireproof box.

You may want to include your identification papers (like your Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate). Consider adding financial records, family photographs, and emergency cash in small bills.

11. Trim trees and shrubs around your home or business.

Dead branches hanging over your roof can fall and cause damage to your home. Shrubs that brush against your house can bring an outdoor fire right into your home or business.

12. Keep your gutters clean.

If a gutter, drain, or downspout at your home or business is clogged, water may build up and find its way inside. And you may not know it until major structural damage has been done.

13. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected.

Use binoculars to examine the outside of your chimney for any cracks or signs of damage. Have your flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.    

14. Consider how vulnerable your home is to wind damage.

Are your home and business protected from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other damaging winds? Consider how sturdy your doors and windows are. Do you need to fortify them? 

15. Know your area’s evacuation routes and shelters.

If you should have to vacate quickly you’ll be better off if you’ve already planned your route and destination.

16. Prepare an evacuation bag.

Include personal hygiene items, water, snacks, spare cash, a flashlight, a phone list of family and key contacts, and anything else that you or your family might need to stay safe for 72 hours or longer. If you have employees on site, prepare an emergency evacuation plan and be sure every employee knows the procedure.

17. Consider having an emergency evacuation kit stored in your car.

Besides what you have in your home evacuation bag, pack other items of use on the road: charged cell phone, first aid kit, tire gauge, jumper cables, road flares, gloves, extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, etc.

18. Protect people and pets with special needs.

Know how you will get them to safety if a natural disaster causes you to evacuate.

19. Read up on emergency preparedness and preventing home disasters.

Your home or business cannot be overly prepared. For protecting your home or business, two good resources are ready.gov and redcross.org. For businesses, download Homeland Security’s 12-page brochure, “Every Business Should Have A Plan.”

20. Have a weather radio, smart phone app, or other means to receive natural disaster warnings and weather updates.

Before a predicted natural disaster or threatening weather turn that weather channel on, leave it on, and keep it close.
Before a predicted natural disaster or threatening weather turn that weather channel on, leave it on, and keep it close.

21. Keep copies of important documents off site.

Have extra copies of birth certificates, passports, financial information, marriage certificates, wills, etc.) stored in a remote location like a bank safe deposit box. Keep essential business papers (bylaws, business plans, leases, tax records, permits, etc.) off site as well.

22. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s working.

Consider installing a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure.

23. Contact your insurance company if you make certain major structural changes.

For example, if you install a fireplace or add on to your business’s facility you might change your risk of fire or other disaster. Let your insurer know. You may have to update your insurance policy to continue to be protected.

24. Always use the right type of flooring.

Don’t install carpet in front of a fireplace or wood-burning stove. A spark could start a fire. Use linoleum, brick, or another flooring that’s not as combustible as carpeting.

25. Walk through all the areas in your house or business.

Look for dangers like unsafely stored chemicals. Check chemical labels and take the necessary steps to ensure that you are using, storing, and disposing of each chemical according to the manufacturer’s directions.

26. Inspect your foundation.

Look for cracks or damp wood resting on the foundation. Be sure the ground slopes away from the foundation so water will drain away. Be certain that anything planted near your home or business is not causing water to pool around the foundation.

27. At home, store chemicals where children can’t reach them.

Locked cabinets is one good choice. Products such as aerosol cans of hair spray and deodorant, nail polish and nail polish remover, toilet bowl cleaners, and furniture polishes all fall into the category of hazardous materials.

28. At work, store chemicals and hazardous materials where only authorized personnel can reach them. 

All types of businesses could face an emergency involving hazardous materials such as flammable, explosive, or toxic substances. Know what chemicals your business has on site and store them safely. Among the hundreds of common workplace hazardous materials are pesticides, mercury, solvents, and lead.

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