If you keep in mind that nothing is inherently safe, then you understand how it is imperative to take steps to keep your family safe. Your home should be a place of refuge from the risks and uncertainty of the outside world, and here are four safety devices you should have in it.
Smoke, Fire, and Carbon Monoxide Safety
There are individual sensors that trip when exposed to the heat of fire, the gases from a smoldering fire, or the colorless, tasteless, odorless and deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas produced by fire and fuel-burning appliances. These sensors are often combined into one unit now. Fire sensors that detect heat are not usually needed in residential spaces. Smoke and CO detectors are absolutely needed. You should have smoke and CO sensors on every floor and outside of bedrooms.
The standard lockset on your door is not an effective safety device. They can be easily pushed or kicked in. Long-throw deadbolts that protrude into steel strike plates and are screwed into the framing of your home resist break in attempts at least long enough to help give you an early warning of intrusion. Dual or triple deadbolt locks are often utilized in urban apartments for their added protection. Anti-kick door mechanisms are available in many different varieties and afford greater intrusion resistance at the main door of your home.
Lockboxes you can hide and those lightweight so-called safes from department stores provide a little protection for your valuables, but not much. They are easily compromised, and they are light enough to be easily carried off. Real security safes, like those available from companies like Southern California Security Centers, provide protection against prying or smashing, and they are either too heavy to be carried off or they are bolted into a solid immovable surface. There are many safe models available that provide fire protection and water resistance for the contents as well. Even if you are not in a flood zone, water resistance is helpful as professional fire suppression involves the use of high-pressure water.
This seems simple and obvious, but many homes either do not have flashlights or the batteries are dead in the one that is there. Sure, your phone likely has an app to turn on the camera flash to act as a flashlight. You may even have a tiny button-battery flashlight on your key ring. However, keeping working flashlights stashed throughout your home can be a real life saver. Contrary to popular opinion, fire scenarios are actually very dark due to the smoke. Keeping working flashlights next to every bed can help family members see and be seen in any disaster situation. Change the batteries in your flashlights every October, which should be the same time you change your smoke detector batteries during Fire Prevention Week, which occurs also as a remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire.
Fire extinguishers are another safety device you may consider for your home. However, keep in mind that most residential models are small and only effective at extinguishing very small fires. For an example to know what a small fire is, it may be more helpful to know that a fire in a garbage can is actually a big fire that can spread rapidly. Since fire can be uncontrollable by even large fire extinguishers in seconds, evacuation of your family should be your primary goal.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber