In emergency situations, such as fires, hurricanes and power outages, local officials and relief workers cannot necessarily reach everyone immediately. Help may not arrive for hours…or even days. Which is why you and your family need to be prepared ahead of time, since you won’t have time to shop or search for the supplies you will need once a disaster strikes.
Some of the top tools that can save the lives of you and your family include:
In case a fire…
Smoke Alarms. Install many. Mount one on every level of the house and outside all sleep areas. Be sure to check the batteries regularly by testing them once a month and replacing them at least once a year, unless you have units powered by 10-year lithium batteries (these still require monthly checking). Some smoke alarms are connected to the household electrical system and may or may not have a battery backup. It’s important to test these monthly, too. Regardless of the power source, buy new smoke alarms every 10 years. Also, be sure to keep alarms free of dust and debris, which can cause malfunctions. Lastly, never disable an alarm.
Fire Extinguishers. Use multipurpose extinguishers. These are labeled as type “ABC,” meaning they are equipped to fight fires caused by ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment. Make sure you have one in the kitchen, the garage, the basement, and wherever your furnace and hot-water heater are located. Don’t forget to inspect them regularly. If the gauge doesn’t read full (100 percent), have the extinguisher serviced if it’s rechargeable and buy a new one if it’s not. Also, replace old extinguishers, since dry chemicals in them degrade and become less effective over time. Lastly, know how to use your extinguisher: once you have squeezed the lever, sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until the fire appears to be out.
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