Inspect Your Home for Potential Hazards Before a Disaster

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, Family Caregiving February 11, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Be prepared for tornadoes hurricanes, earthquakes, floods or other types of disasters - inspect your home to find and correct potential hazards before disaster strikes. To begin, here are some suggestions:

Main breaker box for a homeCheck Your Utilities

  • Know where your main electric fuse or circuit-breaker box is located and how to shut it off safely.
  • Know where your main water and natural gas shut-off valves are located and how to shut them off safely.

Identify Electrical and Chemical Hazards

  • Replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs and plugs.
  • Avoid overloading outlets.
  • Be sure all extension cords are rated for the electrical load and the cord is as short as possible.
  • Repair or replace appliances that overheat, short out, smoke or spark.
  • Properly store flammable liquids in well ventilated areas and in original and safety containers.
  • Move flammable items away from heat sources, gas appliances and open flames.

Use Safety Equipment

  • Install at least one smoke detector on each level of your home.
  • Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector if you have combustion appliances.
  • Have a fire extinguisher (ABC-type) available for use.

Secure Loose and Heavy Items

  • Check for items that can shift or fall.
  • Anchor your water heater, large appliances, bookcases, tall or heavy furniture, shelves, mirrors and pictures to wall studs.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances, including the water heater.

Practice Home Evacuation Plans

  • Plan how to escape from your home in case of an emergency.
  • Identify at least two exits from each room.
  • Conduct emergency drills.
  • Practice day and night escapes, and pick a safe meeting place outside your home.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.