Fire safety and child safety are top concerns for most of us. We all want to keep ourselves and our children out of harm's way. Use these tips and suggestions to make your bedrooms safer for you and your family.
Protective and Safety Equipment
Smoke detectors should be placed in or near every sleeping area. Install them according to manufacturer's instructions - usually on the ceiling or on a wall 6" to 12" below the ceiling. Be careful to avoid vents, registers and areas of dead air or heavy airflow.
- Keep the smoke detector units clean and free of dust, test the batteries monthly, and put in new batteries twice a year. Make battery replacement easy to remember by doing it on the days you adjust the clock for Daylight Savings Time. Some models can be tested with a flashlight, so you do not have to use a step-stool to reach the test button, and others include a silence button to cut off false alarms easily.
- When shopping for a smoke detector, look for a unit that senses both smoldering and flaming fires. A built-in escape light will help you find your way out of the house, and a strobe light that flashes when the alarm sounds will alert the hearing-impaired.
- To make sure your detector is always ready, choose a model that is hard-wired into your house's electrical system. You can connect them so an alarm at one detector will make all of them ring. Make sure hard-wired detectors have back-up batteries in case the power in your house goes out. Some models feature long-life power cells that last up to 10 years without a battery change.
- For maximum safety, look for a smoke detector / carbon monoxide detector combination unit.
Fire Escape Ladders
If you can't easily reach the ground outside your window, keep an escape ladder handy in case a fire blocks your regular exit path from the house. Rope ladders do not take up much storage space and can be put into use quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you should have an alternate exit out of every room. So it's a good idea to place a ladder in every occupied room on floors above the main level.
Also, make sure that all windows and doors can be opened and shut. Fix any windows that have been painted or nailed shut, doors that stick and locks difficult to operate. Security bars or grates over windows or doors should have quick-release devices that allow you to open them in an emergency.
Improperly storing or stacking items in your closet can lead to falling objects and injuries. Make sure closet shelving is sturdy and organized, and that no items are in danger of falling when the closet doors are opened. Store heavy things lowest to the ground and reserve higher shelves for lighter items.
If you have a walk-in closet, make sure toys, shoes and other items are organized and kept out of the walking path to prevent tripping. Stay out of harm's way with storage solutions like shoe storage racks.
Window Treatments and Child Safety
Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids. If you have small children, consider safer options for window coverings. Replace window treatments with long dangling cords to reduce the risk of strangulation. Choose a custom window covering with a cordless or a motorization option.