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Emergency Equipment Safety Checks For Your Home

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Mar 7, 2018

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If you live in a motor home some of these safety tips could apply to you.

You probably have a smoke alarm and maybe a fire extinguisher or two in your home. But just having these things isn't enough: These and other pieces of emergency equipment need regular maintenance to make sure that they work when you need them. This week, let's take a look at how to maintain these important items.

Smoke Alarm

It's important to test your smoke alarm once a month. Normally, there is a test button on a smoke alarm that you can press to test the device. If it's working, it should sound an alarm that lasts a few seconds. Also, make sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year. If your smoke alarm starts beeping before then, that's a signal it needs new batteries. If your smoke alarm doesn't work even after installing new batteries, you can buy a replacement at a big-box store or often even from your local fire department. If you have a smoke alarm that is hardwired, it runs on the electricity traveling into your home, but you should check to see if it has batteries as a backup power source. These will need to be changed annually so your alarm will work even in a power outage.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Most carbon monoxide alarms have a test button just like a smoke alarm. Press the button to test the alarm each month, and replace its battery each year. If the battery is running out of juice, your carbon monoxide alarm will beep, alerting you of the issue. Pay close attention to the instructions on the package of your carbon monoxide alarm so you know when to go to your local hardware store or big-box store to replace it. I suggest that you install your carbon monoxide alarms near the bedrooms in your home. That way, if there is a carbon monoxide leak during the night, your family will be alerted right away.

Fire Extinguisher

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? If not, it's a good idea to have at least one in or near the kitchen. For the monthly maintenance of your fire extinguisher, examine the locking pin to see if it's in place. Look for any corrosion or rusting on the extinguisher. The next step is to examine the pressure gauge to see if the unit is operable. Lots of fire extinguishers used in the home have a pressure gauge with green and red areas on it. If the arrow is in the green area, then it's operable. If the arrow is pointing to the red area, it won't work. If this is the case, read the instructions to see if you can refill your extinguisher; sometimes, local fire departments will refill fire extinguishers for homeowners. Otherwise, just replace it with a new one.

Sprinkler System

If you have a sprinkler system in your home, you have a valuable extra layer of safety. The monthly maintenance of a sprinkler system involves checking to see if the water shutoff valves are in the open position. Also, if you have a water storage tank, look to see if it's full. Examine the insulation around the pipes connected to your sprinkler system to see if it's intact; this can prevent them from freezing in the cold weather. Next, conduct a flow test. Your sprinkler system should have a flow-test valve you can open, allowing water to run out for a minute or so. If your sprinkler doesn't pass the flow test, contact the company that installed it for guidance. In addition, it's important to make sure the sprinkler heads around your home aren't blocked by stacks of boxes or high shelves.

Having emergency equipment in your home can help to keep your family and property secure. The small amount of time you take to maintain these simple items could save lives. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: Home Safety Checks

 

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