When you get in your car - whether it's for a road trip or just a quick run to the grocery store - there are a number of safety features designed to keep you safe. From anti-lock breaks to your seatbelt, most of these elements are put there by the manufacturer. Though your house is rarely barreling down the highway at 60 mph, there are plenty of accidents that also can happen around the home. However, many don't come with built-in safety features, so it's up to you to make sure you are as safe as possible in your house. Here are six safety features that should be found in every home:
It's hard to overstate the importance of a good home insurance plan. If someone breaks into your house, your roof is damaged during a wind storm or one of the neighbors is injured in your back yard, homeowners insurance will help cover the cost of repairs or cover hospital bills for those hurt on your property.
While you probably have a bottle of painkillers and maybe a few bandages in your medicine cabinet, it's essential that you have a well-stocked first-aid kit for emergencies. Be sure to include antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze and tweezers in even the most basic kits.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
It's likely that where you live already requires smoke detectors, which are needed in every American home. If your house also has a fossil fuel-burning appliance, an attached garage or a fireplace, you need to have a carbon monoxide detector, as well. Be sure that your detectors are all working properly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
Whether it's a grease fire in the kitchen, an errant ember near the fireplace or an electrical spark just about anywhere in your home, it's essential that you are ready if a fire breaks out. Always keep one in the kitchen and be sure you know how to use it. If you have a fireplace, keep a second extinguisher nearby, as well.
A corded phone
Sure, it's likely you have a phone in your pocket most of the time. In fact, many new homeowners forgo a landline altogether. However, in emergency situations when cellphone towers are busy or the power is out for days at a time, a good old-fashioned corded phone can literally be a lifesaver. Even without power, you should be able to make calls on your landline.
An exit plan
This is especially necessary if you have children in the house. If there is a fire, an earthquake or another emergency that requires you to evacuate your home, make sure your family has a plan and knows where to meet. The last thing you want is for someone to run back into a burning house to find their child when he or she is safely out but on a different street. In addition, any multi-story homes should have an emergency ladder.