During and right after a disaster, any
household item that can move, fall, break
or cause a fire is a home hazard. At
least once each year, inspect your home to
find and correct potential hazards.
Replace frayed or cracked extension and
appliance cords, loose prongs and plugs.
Make sure there is only one plug per
outlet. Avoid using cube-taps or overloading outlets. If you must
use an extension cord, use a cord that's rated for the electrical load and
no longer than is really needed.
Remove electrical cords that run under
rugs or over nails, heaters, or pipes.
Cover exposed outlets and wiring.
Repair or replace appliances that
overheat, short out, smoke or spark.
Store flammable liquids such as gasoline,
acetone, benzene and lacquer thinner in approved safety cans, 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 such as paint
thinner, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid and turpentine away from heat
Store oily waste and polishing rags in
covered metal cans.
Instruct family members not to use
gasoline, benzene or other flammable fluids for starting fires or cleaning
Check for fire
Clear out old rags, papers, mattresses,
broken furniture and other combustible materials.
Move clothes, curtains, rags and paper
goods away from electrical equipment, gas appliances or flammable
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.
Place portable heaters on level surfaces,
away from high traffic areas. Purchase portable heaters equipped with
automatic shutoff switches, and avoid the use of extension cords.
Install at least one smoke detector on
each level of the home, especially near the bedrooms. Test every month and
change batteries at least once a year.
Keep at least one fire extinguisher (ABC
type). Maintain and recharge according to manufacturer's instructions.
Show all family members where it's kept and 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
Fit water heater with a flexible gas
Place large or heavy objects on lower
Install clips, latches or other locking
devices on cabinet doors.
Provide strong support and flexible
connections on gas appliances.
Brace overhead light fixtures.
Hang heavy items such as pictures and
mirrors away from beds and places where people sit.
Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or
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 area around shut-off switches for
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 day
and nighttime escapes, and pick a safe
meeting place outside the