Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home Hazard Hunt

When I was at an emergency preparedness night recently one of the speakers spoke about having a home hazard hunt where you and your family go through the entire house and look for potential dangers. I think this would be a fun activity to do with your kids now that they are out of school for the summer.

Surprisingly there are quite a few things to check for to prevent injuries and fires etc.

Check for Electrical Hazards:
*Repair or replace damaged cords and plugs
*Remove cords under rungs or over nails, pipes or heaters
*Use one plug per outlet, don't string surge protectors together
*Put covers on outlets or electrical boxes (especially if you have young kids. My husband bought a ton of electrical outlet covers when we moved into our new house but then we found out that we have plastic spring loaded electrical outlets which act the same as outlet covers. If you bought a new house in the last few years you may have them too. They make it a pain to plug cords into though.)
*Repair/ replace appliances that spark, smoke or overheat

Check for Chemical Hazards:
*Store flammable chemicals in approved containers and in a well-ventilated place outside your home
*Store oily rags in covered metal containers
*Limit quantities of household chemicals and store out of reach of children
*Separate reactive chemicals such as bleach and ammonia

Check for Fire Hazards
*Eliminate combustibles (yard waste, papers, rags, old mattresses)
*Separate heat sources (appliances, candles, portable heaters, etc) and combustibles
*keep chimneys, flue pipes, vents and vent connectors clean and in good repair
Keep portable heaters in low traffic areas

Safety Equipment:
*Install a smoke alarm in each sleeping room, hallway and level of your home. Test monthly and replace batteries yearly
*Install carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home
*Store and learn to use your ABC fire extinguisher
*Remember PASS

  • Pull the trigger
  • Aim the nozzle
  • Squeeze the trigger and
  • Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire


Secure large Items in Your Home
*Anchor water heaters, large appliances, tall or heavy furniture and pictures to studs in the wall
*Install a flexible gas line on gas appliances
*Store heavy objects on lower shelves, secure cabinet doors
*Avoid placing beds under windows or heavy objects (how many of us have shelves above our kids beds because they look good there? I know I wanted one there.)
*Brace overhead light fixtures or fans

Utilities
*Show responsible members of the family the location of utility shut-off valves and how to operate them (It would be a good idea to have the shut off wrench attached nearby).

A lot of these are things we had already done, but the hazards are especially good to be aware of.

My children aren't old enough for this yet but I think it would be fun to make a game out of it. Like talk about examples before hand then a few days later have a treasure hunt with prizes for finding the hazard and then fixing it.

If any of you have done this or plan to with your kids I'd like to hear how it went.

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