Home Hazard Hunt
Check your home and protect your family from hazards before they become an emergency.
- Download and print the Home Hazard Hunt brochure.
- Follow the Home Hazard Hunt checklist and note the items in your home that need to be fixed, changed, eliminated, or mitigated.
- Prioritize remedying the items on your list according to severity, budget, and time.
- Make it a priority to make the corrections to your home as soon as your are able.
- Perform the Home Hazard Hunt and make the necessary corrections every couple of years.
General Home Hazards
- Have emergency numbers next to every phone.
- Install smoke detectors on every floor and inside or near every bedroom. Test monthly.
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on every floor. Test monthly.
- Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months.
- Make sure dangerous products and cleaners are labeled and stored separately from food, beverages and medicine.
- Secure rugs and carpets to the stairs or remove them.
- Be sure stairways, porches, and walkways are lit.
- Be sure house number is clearly visible from the street, day and night.
- Make sure automatic garage door opener has an auto-reverse feature to prevent injuries.
- Secure entertainment centers, cabinets, book cases, refrigerators, freezers, free standing flat screen TV’s, and tall bookshelves to wall studs with “L” shaped brackets or furniture safety straps.
- Secure items on shelves to prevent toppling.
- Use earthquake picture wall hangers for large, heavy, hanging pictures.
- Remove objects from above beds.
- Place heavier items on lower shelves and lighter items above.
- Secure food storage, glass canning jars, books, paint, cleaning supplies, etc. with rope, boards or other bracing in front of shelves to prevent falling.
- Install cupboard locks to prevent doors from swinging open and contents falling out.
- If necessary, consult a trusted contractor regarding structural reinforcement.
- Keep fire extinguishers in or near utility room, kitchen, laundry room, garage, and any other room that contains a major heat source. Know how to operate properly.
- Have all HVAC systems, flue pipes, vents, and chimneys inspected and cleaned yearly.
- Keep curtains, potholders or other combustibles away from cooking ranges or other heat sources.
- Keep the stove, oven, and broiler clean of grease.
- Only store fuels like gasoline, kerosene, and propane in an out building away from the home.
- Clear brush, leaves, debris, and other combustibles from around your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping, and fire-safe construction.
- If the garage is attached, make sure a tight fitting, self-closing, fire door is used in the doorway between the garage and the house.
Evacuation and Escape Hazards
- Make sure there are at least two escape routes from every room.
- Make sure upper floor rooms have an emergency ladder or other means of escape.
- Make sure all exterior doors and windows have locks that unlock and open easily from the inside.
- Make sure all deadbolt locks have an inside thumb turn lock, not a key lock. A missing key could trap you inside.
- Make sure security bars have an inside release latch.
- Install night-lights and emergency lights in hallways and along emergency escape routes.
- Keep a shut-off tool or adjustable wrench near the outside gas meter in case of a gas leak.
- After an earthquake, ONLY SHUT OFF THE GAS IF YOU SEE, HEAR OR SMELL A LEAK!!!
- Keep flashlights and spare batteries easily accessible and in working order in the event of a power outage. Flashlights are safer than candles.
- Only allow qualified electricians to install or repair your wiring.
- Have enough electrical outlets in every room to avoid the need for multiple plug attachments or long extension cords.
- Know how to safely reset breakers or replace fuses.
- Do not run extension cords under rugs, furniture, over hooks, or through doorways.
- Make sure all outlets and switches have properly fitting face plates.
- Make sure bulbs are the correct wattage for the lamps or light fixtures in which they are used.
- Too many appliances using the same outlet can cause a fire. Use outlets properly and use surge protectors as needed.
- Set water heater to 120o F to prevent scalding.
- Secure the water heater and any other gas appliance to wall studs with sturdy earthquake straps and make sure it is connected to the gas main with a flexible gas line.
- Teach all responsible people how, when and where to turn off main water, gas, and electricity.
- Make sure all appliances have an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark or stamp.
- Make sure all electrical outlets in bathrooms and near water use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) to prevent shock.
Hazards that Affect Children
- Keep children away from the range when cooking.
- Use product safety caps and cupboard locks.
- Properly install toilet seat locks.
- Keep medicines, cosmetics and cleaners locked up.
- Keep window blind cords up out of reach and cut the cord loop in two pieces to prevent strangling.
- Install window guards in upper windows to prevent falling out.
- Install gates at the top and bottom of staircases.
- Install safety caps over electrical outlets.
- Store large buckets upside down to prevent collecting water and making a drowning hazard.
12 Areas: Safety and Security
Knowing what to do to increase your safety and security will help you and your family "Be Ready" before, during, and after emergencies.