Check for electrical hazards
Check for chemical hazards
- Store flammable liquids like gasoline, acetone, and lacquer thinner in approved safety cans in a storage area located away from the home. Place containers in a well-ventilated area and close the lids tightly. Secure the containers to prevent spills.
- If flammable materials must be stored in the home, use a storage can with an Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approved label. Move materials away from heat sources, open flames, gas appliances, and children.
- Keep combustible liquids like paint thinner, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, and turpentine away from heat sources.
- Store oily waste and polishing cloths in covered metal cans.
- Instruct family members not to use gasoline or other flammable fluids for starting fires or cleaning indoors.
Check for fire hazards
- Clear out old cloths, papers, mattresses, broken furniture, and other combustible materials.
- Move clothes, curtains, cloths, and paper goods away from electrical equipment, gas appliances, or flammable materials.
- Remove dried grass cuttings, tree trimmings, and weeds from the property.
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
- Keep heaters and candles away from curtains and furniture.
- Keep portable heaters on level surfaces, away from high traffic areas. Purchase portable heaters equipped with automatic shut-off switches, and don’t use them with extension cords.
Check fire safety equipment
- Install at least one smoke detector on each level of the home, especially near the bedrooms. Test detectors every month and change batteries at least once a year.
- Keep at least one fire extinguisher (ABC-type) on hand. Maintain and recharge according to manufacturer’s instructions. Show all family members where it’s kept and make sure they know how to use it.
Check items that can shift or fall
- Anchor water heater, large appliances, bookcases, tall or heavy furniture, shelves, mirrors, and pictures to wall studs.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Install clips, latches, or other locking devices on cabinet doors.
- Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances, including the water heater.
- Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds and places where people sit.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
Check your utilities
- Locate the main electric fuse or circuit breaker box, water service shut-off, and natural gas main shut-off.
- Contact local utility companies for instructions on how to turn off the utilities.
- Teach family members when and how to turn off utilities.
- Clear the area around shutoff switches for easy access. (Gas and water)
- Attach shut-off wrench or specialty tool to a pipe or other location close by the gas and water shut-off valves.
- Paint shut-off valves with white or fluorescent paint to increase visibility.
- Plan how to escape from your home in the event of an emergency.
- Identify at least two exits from each room.
- Clear doors, hallways, and stairs of obstructions. Conduct emergency drills.
- Practice daytime and nighttime escapes, and pick a safe meeting place outside the home.
Source: NC State Cooperative Extension