Make your home safer


Tips to prevent damage to your home 

  • Tornado: Add a tornado safe room to your home, or add extra protection to an existing room to keep your family safe in a tornado. Look for FEMA publication 320 for more information. 
  • Wildfire: Use fire-resistant building materials like shingles and siding. Cut back branches and brush within 20 feet of your home. Keep firewood at least 30 feet away. Check into the National Fire Protection Association's program for more ideas. 
  • Flood: Elevate your home above the base flood level or take steps to floodproof. Elevate your utilities above the base flood level. Make sure you have adequate flood venting. Use flood-resistant building materials when you build or remodel. Taking steps like these can lower your flood insurance rates. 
  • Earthquake: Secure your furniture, appliances, and water heater to walls and floors. Install safety catches on cabinets and cupboard doors. Make sure your appliances are connected with flexible connections. Consider using a safety film on your windows or installing laminated glass to prevent injuries from broken glass. 

how to display your house number

  • Emergency responders cannot find you and can cost you precious time in an emergency if your house number is not clearly displayed. 
  • Reflective signs that display the address house number are called 9-1-1 reflective signs. These signs are extremely helpful to emergency responders.
  • House numbers should be permanently attached to or painted on a house in a size no less than 4 inches in height. 
  • House numbers should be clearly visible from the roadway closest to the front of the house. 
  • House numbers should be in a sufficient color contrast with the surrounding color to make the paint readable. Reflective paint is the preferred method. 
  • House numbers should be posted on a mailbox not located on or in a home. They must be clearly visible by a person traveling on the roadway closest to the mailbox, but in no event will the numbers be less than three inches in height. 
  • Do not use your mailbox as the only means of identification for your house. 

know your neighbors

  • Get to know the people in your neighborhood and watch out for each other and their property. 
  • Living in a proactive neighborhood can increase your families safety. 
  • Know your neighbors special skills.
  • If you're a member of a neighborhood organization introduce emergency preparedness as a new activity. 

Natural gas safety tips

  • Natural gas is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly. Until mercaptan, an odorant similar to rotten eggs is added to help detect leaks.
  • Natural Gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following disasters.
  • Signs of a gas leak include: rotten egg smell, whistling or hissing sound, dead vegetation in a normally green area.
  • If you smell natural gas or have a gas emergency, leave immediately and call 9-1-1. DO NOT use electronics, including cell phones, until you are safely outside. 
  • Put a natural gas detector in your home
  • Since there are different gas shut off procedures it is important to contact your gas company to learn the proper shut-off procedure.
  • If you turn off the gas in an emergency, get a qualified professional to turn it back on. 

Electric Safety tips

  • Electrical sparks can ignite natural gas if it is leaking. 
  • Keep an ABC type fire extinguisher accessible and know how and when to use it.
  • Check electric cords often for damage and have any damaged cords replaced. 
  • Have emergency supplies at home in case there is a power outage.
  • Acquire and learn how to safely use a portable generator.
  • Unplug any appliance that emits sparks or does not work properly. 
  • Do not overload electric outlets with to many plugged in at once. 
  • Know where the main electric switch is in your home.
  • Shut off all the individual circuits before shutting off the main circuit. 
  • Shut off electricity if you smell burning material during a power outage, area around electrical switches or plugs turn black or is hot, or any electrical devices are burning.
  • Stay away from downed power lines; they may be energized.
  • If your basement floods don't enter unless your sure the water isn't in contact with a source of electricity.

generator safety tips

  • Portable back-up generators produce the poison gas carbon monoxide (CO). If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to CO build-up inside buildings and poison the people and animals inside. 
  • Never us a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows. 
  • Be sure to install battery-operated CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home. 
  • Check and replace the detector's battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. 
  • Common symptoms of CO poisoning are dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. 

water utility safety tips

  • Water and electricity do not mix. 
  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is located and label it. 
  • Make sure the shut-off valve can be completely shut off. If it is rusted or only partially close make sure to replace it. 
  • Do not store items in front of your water valve. 
  • Know where the drain valves are and how to drain the water in the pipes. This will help prevent water freezing and bursting pipes.  
  • Cracked lines may pollute the water supply to your house. 
  • Have an emergency water supply.
  • If your home is susceptible to flooding; elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel.

propane safety tips

  • Propane is also known as liquefied petroleum gas. It is a gas normally compressed as a liquid. It is nontoxic, colorless and virtually odorless: an identifying odor is added so it can be detected. 
  • If a storm damages your propane tank have a qualified service technician perform a complete inspection. 
  • Know how to shut off all your propane supply valves-including the main supply valve on your propane tank and the gas supply valves on each appliance. 
  • Relighting your pilot light on your own can be dangerous. Make sure to read all the manufacturers instructions and warnings.