A few basic home maintenance projects and a weekend class can go a long way towards protecting your family and property.
Learn First Aid & CPR
American Red Cross offers first aid and CPR training, both online and at local chapter offices.
Official certification by the American Red Cross provides, under the “good Samaritan” law, protection for those giving first aid.
Fire Escape Plan
Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a small fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, an entire house can be engulfed in flames.
Fire is HOT. Heat from a fire can be 600 degrees or more. This kind of heat will scorch your lungs as you breathe the air and melt clothing to your skin.
Fire is DARK. Fire burns bright, but produces toxic black smoke and total darkness. The poisonous gases make you drowsy and disoriented. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire-related deaths, exceeding burns 3 to 1.
In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. An escape plan will help you get out of your home quickly.
Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan. Some tips to consider:
- Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary exit is blocked by fire or smoke.
- Make sure that windows are not stuck and screens can be taken out quickly.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
Know how to shut off utilities
Electricity by itself is deadly, but the danger increases dramatically if it comes into contact with water or natural gas. All responsible persons in your household should know how to turn off the electricity.
- Know where your electrical panel is located. For your safety, always turn off individual circuits before switching off the main.
A broken water line can quickly flood a home. Make sure water shut off valves (including the main) are in good working order. If not, replace them. You should be able to operate water shut off valves easily by hand, without using a wrench or other tool.
Finally, know where your natural gas shut off valves are located – both inside your home and outside at the meter. Because there are different procedures for different systems, consult with your gas company for the proper steps.
- If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open the nearest window and get everyone out of the house immediately.
- If you’re able, turn off the gas at the meter.
- Call the gas company or fire department from a neighbor’s or use your cell phone. Do not go back inside your house.
- If you turned your gas off, only a qualified professional can turn it back on. NEVER attempt to turn the gas on yourself.