During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. However, there are simple steps you can take to make your home safer. Start by viewing each room with a disaster eye and identifying potential hazards, for example, bookshelves that could tip over in an earthquake and block exits or heavy objects that could fall and cause injury.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change the batteries every 6 months (at daylight saving changeover times).
- Move beds away from windows.
- Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places where people sit.
- Clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.
- Store heavy items on the lowest shelves.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on each level and know how and when to use them.
- Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with a flexible gas supply line.
- Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinners) securely and separate from each other.
- Secure pictures and wall hangings and use restraints to secure heavy items such as bookcases and filing cabinets.
- Know where and how to switch off your power, water and/or gas.
- Ensure that all window safety bars have emergency releases.
- Be sure your home number is visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you.