June is National Safety Month and the Trophy Club Police Department has a few reminders and tips for ways to keep your home, and the community, safe.
Do you live a safe lifestyle? Is your home as safe as it can be? It is always a good time to think about what you can do to make you and your family safer, and now that the children are home, it is a good time to go over a safety plan with them as well.
There are a myriad of topics in home safety:
- Power outages
- Severe Thunder Storms
- Pool Safety
- Chemicals in the House
- Guns in the House
- Escape Plans
- Communications Plans
- Home Security
These are just a few things that you can prepare for to make your home safer for you and your family. Let’s take a look at some of these and break down how you can make a plan.
First and foremost, for most of these events you should have your home prepared to be able to survive with no outside help for at least three days, five is even better. Do you have enough emergency supplies on hand for you and your family to sustain yourselves in the event of an emergency? Is there enough food, water, medications, electrical capability, etc.? Do you have a battery operated radio to receive the latest news updates? If you need a list, you can go to FEMA.gov to get the list, or come visit the police department and we can get you a list.
Tornados are something that we deal with in Texas and one of the most powerful events in nature. Winds can reach up to 300 mph in the most violent of tornados and can strike with little advanced warning. When outside be aware of the warning sirens that will sound if we have a report of a tornado warning in our area, these sirens are only for people outdoors. If you hear an emergency siren seek shelter immediately, and monitor your local weather source for up to date information on the approaching storm.
If your local weather source has advised that you are in a tornado “watch” please continue to monitor the local weather source for updates on actual warnings. One very good way of keeping abreast of warnings is to have a weather radio that alerts when there is a nearby weather warning. They will normally alert for the county you are in, so you must listen to the alert to see if it applies to your location.
Severe Thunderstorms are another dangerous weather phenomenon in our area. Dangers can include flooding rains, powerful straight line winds, large hail and lightening. If you hear of a severe thunderstorm warning in your area, seek shelter as quickly as you can. If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, find shelter on higher ground. If you can’t find shelter and there is lightening, try to seek shelter in a lower area (not prone to flooding) in a thick growth of small trees. If you are in an open area with lightening, take shelter in a ravine or valley (again, remain alert for flash floods). If you are on the water get to land as quickly as possible.
Pool safety is something that we all need to think about this time of the year. Keep your pool locked so that little children can’t gain access to the pool without adult supervision. Make sure that there is always adult supervision when someone is using the pool. If you can’t secure your pool area, install a pool alarm that will alert you if something falls into the pool. Teach your children how to swim and float. If you are going to have a party at your house consider hiring a lifeguard to watch over all of the children while everyone is having a good time. A dedicated set of eyes on the youngsters while they are having fun will help put you, and the other parents, at ease.
Household chemicals can have severe consequences for youngsters if they get into them. We have dangerous items all over the house, including cleaners, detergents, drain cleaners, polishes, insecticides, pool chemicals etc. Any of these by themselves can cause havoc if a child were to ingest them, but something that is not normally thought about is if some of these items are spilled and mixed together. They can give off noxious gasses, turn into acids or explosive items. Try to keep anything that doesn’t mix well with other chemicals stored separately, and anything that could be toxic should be kept locked up or in a place where little hands can’t get to them.
If you have weapons in the house, please keep them out of the reach of children. Ensure that children can not get to a loaded weapon by either keeping the weapon locked up or a gun lock on the weapon. Youngsters are always inquisitive and will explore every nook and cranny in the house; don’t think that just because a weapon is hidden that a child isn’t going to be able to find it.
With the different types of emergencies that could happen in a home, does your family have an escape plan from your home? Does everyone know what different ways there are to get out? Have you practiced this with the family? With children you can turn this into a game of find your way out with either playing against their siblings or one of the adults. After you have come up with the plan and have talked about it and walked through it a couple of times, have the people who are going to find their way out put on a blind fold and then try to find how to get out of the house while crawling. By practicing this you will find that for the children it isn’t nearly as scary if they have to do it in the dark, and practice makes perfect.
Once you get out of the house, or if you are trying to return to the house after an emergency, do you have a plan on how you are all going to get back together again? How are you all going to communicate with each other? Where are you going to meet? Come up with a plan and talk with the entire family about the plan, and again, practice the plan.
Last but not least is home security. One of the very best things that you can do is just keep the doors and windows locked. It is a simple, great deterrent that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten. Don’t leave your garage door open if you are not in the garage using it. Don’t open the door to strangers - know who is on the other side of the door before opening up. Don’t allow anyone that you don’t know into your home for any reason. Don’t confront people on your own, call the police. Contact the police department for a home security inspection if you want to work on a home security plan.