Fire Prevention Checklist
Afew simple precautions can prevent a ﬁre from occurring in your home. Place new batteries in your smoke detectors once a year on a memorable date, such as your child’s birthday or the date that the time changes from daylight savings time to standard time. Call your gas company if you smell gas or if the pilot light on your furnace goes out. Never smoke in bed. To gauge whether your home is ﬁre-safe, use the following checklist:
Do you inspect electrical cords for signs of fraying and avoid placing cords under carpets?
Do you check to make sure your electrical outlets are not overloaded?
Do you keep any portable heater or space heater a safe dis- tance from draperies, bedding, furniture, and other ﬂam- mable items?
Do you have a smoke alarm on each ﬂoor of your house?
Do you check the batteries in your smoke alarms regularly?
Do you keep a ﬁre extinguisher in your kitchen?
Do you have a ﬁre emergency escape plan?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you are well on your way to a ﬁre-safe home. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to take additional steps to prevent ﬁres in your home. Contact your local ﬁre department for more information on ﬁre safety.
Safety with Firearms
Fifty percent of all homes in the United States contain a gun, but having a gun in your home is dangerous. A ﬁrearm is 40 times more likely to be used to harm or kill a family member than to stop a criminal act. Having a gun in your home raises the likelihood of suicide ﬁvefold and the likelihood of homicide threefold in your family. If you keep a gun in your home for personal protection or are thinking of getting one, explore some other ways of protecting your home and family ﬁrst. You can invest in an alarm system, reinforced bars on your windows, a guard dog, and motion-detecting outdoor lighting. All of these measures are far better for your personal safety than having a ﬁrearm in your home.
If you choose to own a ﬁrearm—whether for personal safety or a sport such as hunting—you can lessen the chances of injury or death by taking certain pre- cautions. Store the gun unloaded, trigger-locked, and in a locked gun case, then place it in a locked cabinet or drawer. Lock up your ammunition in a separate box and keep it in a different location. Check your gun and ammunition period- ically to make sure they remain securely stored. Make the key available only to other trusted adults.
Learn how to use your weapon properly, and have every adult in your family take a training course in ﬁrearms safety from a certiﬁed instructor. Teach your children never to touch a gun, and tell them what to do if they ﬁnd a gun any- where: don’t touch it, and tell a trusted adult right away. Also tell your children that if they are visitors in someone’s home and are not sure if a gun is real or a toy, they should treat it as a real gun. Responsible gun ownership can reduce the risks inherent in having a ﬁrearm in the home and make your home a safer place to live.