Emergency Planning for Your New Home

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After moving into your new home, it may be easy to get distracted by so many housekeeping items. One item that should be top of mind is emergency planning. Here are a few items to take care of soon after you're settled in:

Smoke Detectors. First thing's first: check the batteries in all the smoke detectors in the home and replace any detectors that aren't working properly. The Home Safety Council recommends placing smoke detectors on every floor of your home and testing the batteries twice a year. Also, keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, which is the most common site for home fires.

Chemical Matters. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that we can’t see or smell, so CO detectors are best positioned near bedrooms and the furnace to warn when the gas collects in high levels. If you have children in your home, find a secure place for medicines and household cleaners and install safety locks on cabinets and drawers to keep dangerous substances out of reach.

Road Map. Create safety plans for your new home and make sure every member of the family is on board. Outline escape routes from bedrooms, be sure everyone knows how to unlock doors and windows, and designate a meeting area outside of the home in case of a fire, earthquake, or other disaster.

By the Numbers. If you've moved to a new city or state, there will be a new set of emergency telephone numbers that you'll need to know. Make note and program numbers for the local police and fire departments, as well as poison control into your cell phone.

Get to Know Neighbors. Neighbors look out for each other and can provide much needed assistance in an emergency. Introduce yourself and your family to everyone on the block. When you're in need of help, they could be at your door faster than emergency workers.

The Home Safety Council offers additional safety tips on their website, homesafetycouncil.org. The sooner you prepare yourself and your home for a disaster, the sooner you can live in your new home feeling safe and sound.

Thank you,