There are hundreds of details to attend to when moving into a new home, so while you make that checklist, add one more item and follow these suggestions to prepare your new home for safety.
Before you’ve moved all your family possessions and while you have your ladder and tools out this is the time to safeguard your house against potential hazards like fire, burglary and natural disasters.
According to FEMA, working smoking alarms increase your chances of survival by 50 percent. This is the time to make sure there are enough fire detectors in the house: at least one on every level and one for every bedroom and sleeping area. It is a good idea to change the batteries once a year, so put in fresh batteries for all the detectors right now and then replace them every year on the anniversary of moving in.
Living in a new house, it’s time to make a new fire escape plan. Make sure everybody in the house knows two ways to get out of every room and where to meet outside the home once they’ve gotten out.
Check all your new windows to ensure they are not nailed or painted shut, and that security grates can be opened easily from the inside.
You’ve just started moving your valuable possessions into a new house that has probably been sitting relatively unprotected for some time. There are all kinds of reasons your new place will be attractive to potential burglars.
Change all the locks immediately, and get new ones installed on back doors, garage doors and windows that may not have them.
As soon as possible make the place look lived in and protected. Install and turn on outside lights, mow that lawn, bring in the mail and keep your possessions inside as soon as you move.
Every part of the country has its own possible natural disasters to contend with. If you are moving into a new area, find out if it’s possible that you might have to prepare for hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, tornadoes, wildfires or winter storms, and prepare accordingly.
For example, hurricane preparation includes checking that shelves are fastened and light fixtures are braced; flood preparation includes elevating the electric panel, water heater and furnace, installing check valves in sewer traps, and sealing the walls in your basement.
Some common sense preparations are universal. Have an emergency kit of food, blankets, clothes and necessary medication ready. Also make sure everyone knows alternative places to meet in case of an emergency. Download one of the FEMA or American Red Cross smartphone apps to help you prepare for an emergency, and find help and shelters afterwards.
Over the past few years Jay Acker has led several projects for safetyservicescompany.com. These included creating guaranteed Labor Law Poster compliance subscriptions, industry specific safety compliance posters, and a broad range of safety training materials.