March 20 marked the official beginning of spring, and you know what that means… spring cleaning! If you’re like most Georgians, you are prepping for some serious scrubbing, dusting and de-cluttering. This year, consider adding a new item to the to-do list: making sure your home is prepared for emergencies.
When is the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke detector? Or gathered emergency supplies? Just as you’re careful not to miss a single nook or cranny, make sure you don’t overlook these important steps to keep you and your family safe.
These tips will help you keep your family safe and prepared for emergencies and severe weather:
- Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced once a year. You should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your house.
- Replace the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radios can be purchased at any electronics store.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut. Make sure security gratings on windows have a fire safety opening feature so they can be easily opened from the inside.
- Use your vacuum hose to remove lint from behind your dryer – this is a common fire hazard.
- At the National Hurricane Conference this week, flood preparedness was a heavy topic of discussion. Keep family photos, important documents and other beloved mementos in a waterproof container and store on the top shelf of your closet.
- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep cool air inside. This is especially helpful when during those scorching Georgia summers, and it will help with your power bills!
- Identify the best place in your home for you and your family to take shelter during tornadoes and other severe storms. This could be your basement or the most interior room in your home. Keep in mind that your safe place needs to be on the lowest floor of your home and could be a bathroom or closet. Try to avoid rooms with windows if possible.
- Create a family communications plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Establish a designated meeting point and develop a plan for contacting one another.
- Create a Ready kit. Collect the emergency items your family would need in an emergency. Some examples include: non-perishable food, water, a flashlight and a first aid kit. You might already have many of these items spread throughout your house, so you should have no trouble finding them now that it’s clean. Once you create your Ready kit, store it in a safe place, like your newly organized closet!