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.
Check for electrical 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 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
Check for chemical hazards.
- 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 Mututal (FM)
approved label. Move materials away from heat sources,open flames, gas appliances,
- Keep combustible liquids such as paint thinner, kerosene,
charcoal lighter fluid, and turpentine away from heat sources.
- 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 indoors.
Check for fire hazards.
- 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 materials.
- Remove dried grass cuttings, tree trimmings and weeds from
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors,
and gas vents.
- Keep heaters and candles away from curtains and furniture.
- Place portable heaters on a level surface, away from high
traffic areas. (Purchase portable heaters that are equipped with automatic
shut-off switches and avoid the use of extension cords.)
Check fire safety equipment.
- 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 lest one fire extinguisher (A-B-C 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, other
tall or heavy furniture, shelves, mirrors, and pictures to wall studs.
- Fit water hater with a flexible gas supply line.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Install clips, latches, or other locking devices on cabinet
- 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 foundations.
Check your utilities.
- 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 the utilities off. Teach family members when and how to turn off utilities
- Clear area around shut-off switches for easy access.
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
Plan how to escape. Identify at least two exits from each room. Clear doors,
hallways and stairs of obstructions. Conduct emergency drills. Practice day
and night time escapes, and pick a safe meeting place outside the home.