Invest in a Security System
A security system not only deters burglars, but the company that monitors the home can alert the police and send you messages in regards to the status of your house. Invest in a security system that will provide you peace of mind in the event of an intrusion or other home front emergency. Alarm monitoring can also detect detect smoke and fire, whether they're the result of an electrical issue, a cooking mishap or a spark from a heating unit.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit should contain a NOAA weather radio, flashlight, cell phone, whistle, dust masks, antibacterial wipes, manual can opener, local map, and enough food and water for at least three days. Keep in mind that you’ll need one gallon of water per day per person, and don’t forget supplies for pets, if applicable. Additionally, keep extra batteries and an emergency gas shut-off wrench with the kit.
Learn Basic Emergency Skills
If you don't already have a fire extinguisher, get one and make sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions. Consider getting trained in basic first aid such as CPR. You can find classes by contacting Red Cross, a local community college or your library.
Learn How to Shut Off UtilitiesIf your home uses gas, familiarize yourself with the shutoff valve on the gas meter. The utility line closes when you turn the valve a quarter in either direction. The goal is to have it run crosswise to the pipe. Once the gas is shut off, only a professional can turn it back on.
The location of the valve for the waterline depends on your home and location. In warm climates, it’s usually located near the water meter. In colder regions, you might find it in the basement or near the pipe that leads to the water heater.
In regards to electricity, always turn off all individual circuits before switching off the main breaker.
Have a Plan for PetsIf you need to leave your home in an emergency, keep in mind that pets aren’t allowed in most designated evacuation shelters. Prepare for that scenario by making arrangements with a friend or family member beforehand. You should also microchip any pets and invest in a GPS tracker.
While you can’t prepare for everything, completing these steps beforehand will allow you to keep your focus when dealing with a potential emergency. Make sure that everyone in your family is on board with these steps, and discuss your safety plans regularly.
Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and writer on topics relating to business, personal finance, personal growth, and emergency preparedness. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her dog Charlie.