If you’ve just purchased a home, then there’s no better time to protect it. It’s an investment, and like any major purchase, you’d like it to last for a long time. A few simple steps towards maintaining your home’s systems can save you hassle, not to mention your life.
Fires and carbon monoxide incidents in Calgary homes is a regular problem, and there’s often a need to reiterate the essential information that keeps families safe. So what can you do today to protect your home? Start with alarms.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are easy to install, and low maintenance. Carbon monoxide isn’t obvious like fire, so it’s even more important that you secure your home against a leak or have a measure for detecting it. Any new construction requires by law that there be a detector, but it’s only a recommendation for older homes.
Test both alarms once a month, and replace the batteries every six months. If you’ve just purchased an older home, go ahead and the change the alarm, even if it looks new. They should only be in service for about ten years, and it’s not worth the risk. Homeowners with chimneys, fireplaces, or woodstoves, should have a professional inspection completed to determine if either one poses a safety risk.
And don’t forget about your elderly loved ones. Check their systems too, which may be older or in need of replacement.
While alarms can save lives, what is most effective is a strong understanding of how to handle dangerous situations, particularly for fires. We all remember stop, drop, and roll, but your kids will need regular refreshers and a concrete plan. Educate your children on how to escape the home, where to meet outside, and how to protect themselves from smoke inhalation. Fire drills are standard in offices, so why not at home? Practise scenarios so the whole family has the knowledge base.
Reliable supplies are an insurance policy. Be well-equipped and well-versed in how to handle each supply, and you’re more likely to make it out safe. Here are a few recommended supplies:
- If you live in a two story home, an escape ladder could be the only method of exiting, if a door is blocked. Store a ladder somewhere accessible and near windows.
- Talking alarms are particularly effective at letting children know what kind of risk is present, so consider upgrading.
- Store multiple fire extinguishers in danger zones, like near the furnace, in the kitchen or in the garage. Note: Don’t try to put out a fire that’s out of control.
Krista Kehoe, Calgary real estate agent & REALTOR®