5 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe Year-Round
Perform these tasks regularly to help protect your home from preventable accidents.
Regular safety checks can help keep your home and family safe. Whether you set reminders on your phone, jot them down on a calendar, or coordinate checks with seasonal events like daylight saving time, put these checkups on your to-do list.
1. Inspect your fire extinguishers.
- Make sure extinguishers are easily accessible.
- Check the tamper seal and pull pin. If the seal is broken or the pin is missing, have a certified fire extinguisher technician inspect it or replace the extinguisher.
- Look for physical damage and debris in the hoses and nozzles. Replace the extinguisher if it shows signs of damage or corrosion.
- Have fire extinguishers professionally inspected once per year.
2. Check your garage door sensors.
- If sensors aren’t working correctly, people or items could be harmed by a closing garage door.
- Test the automatic reversing mechanism by placing a piece of wood, such as a 2×4, on the ground in the door’s path as it’s closing. The door should reverse one or two seconds after hitting the wood. If it does not, refer to your owner’s manual to make an adjustment to the opener’s sensitivity or contact a professional garage door service.
- Test the photoelectric sensors by placing an object in front of them as the door is coming down. The door should immediately reverse. If it does not, check the sensors for alignment, dirty lenses or damage.
3. Test your smoke alarms.
- Push the test button to make sure the alarm sounds.
- See how the alarm responds to smoke: Light a match and blow it out directly under the alarm or use an aerosol smoke can if the detector is out of reach.
- Have someone stand as far away from the smoke alarm as possible to be sure it’s audible.
- Change the batteries twice a year.
- Replace the device at least every 10 years — earlier if the alarm sounds weak or doesn’t emit noise after you change the batteries and perform multiple tests.
4. Practice a family fire drill.
When: Twice a year
- Pick a place to meet outside that everyone can remember.
- Follow your fire escape plan. If you don’t have one, map out how you will exit each room in the event of a fire.
- Practice the drill at night when family members are asleep. This will help them prepare for waking up to smoke alarms and getting out of the house quickly.
5. Update your first aid and emergency preparedness kits.
When: Twice a year
- Check expiration dates and replace old contents.
- Make sure flashlight batteries work.