We have all heard the general safety rules before: Never open the door to strangers, Never tell someone you are home alone, Lock all doors and windows, Park in a well lighted area, Be aware of your surroundings, Look both ways before crossing the street... These are great rules to remember but there are other things you can do to protect yourself and the ones you love.
If you are in danger (the building is on fire, etc.) and there is something you can do to remove yourself from the danger, do that before calling 911.
Look around your house for dangers. Don't be afraid to crawl around on your hands and knees. Changing the angle you view things through will change how you see them. This is especially important if you have children, pets or frequent young visitors to your house. Look for hanging power cords, curtain cords, empty electric sockets, loose boards or slippery surfaces. Things you see and avoid everyday may pose a danger to a child who does not know what it is for.
Place (and maintain) fire extinguishers around the house. Having one in the kitchen is great. But what if you can not get to the kitchen?
When you first move in someplace, change the locks.
Dispose of hazardous wastes as soon as possible and store the rest in a safe area. Storing that can of paint for touchups is one thing, but do you really need all those cans? The same thing goes for medications. If you have prescriptions that are old or you no longer take, flush them down the toilet.
If there are torrential rains, do not try to cross flooded roadways. Your car may stall out in the middle, and you do not know how fast that water is moving or what may be underneath. If you are trapped in a car that is going under water, roll up the windows. This will slow the intake of water and give you time to think rationally or call for help.
In the winter, remember to clear the snow from your tail pipe before turning on the car to warm. Snow or any obstruction in a tailpipe can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide in the car.
Have emergency information and phone numbers always on hand. (Click here to open a sample Microsoft Word document that you can use to create your own emergency information card.)
Attend a basic CPR and First Aid course. These are frequently taught by the American Red Cross and other such agencies.
Do you have window locks in place or door locks that require a key? What would you do if you needed to exit the house quickly at night? Could you find the key or get out the window?
Remember, making your house safe does not mean just safe for you, but safe for anyone who comes into it.