How about taking a little inventory of your home and see if you have all of these protective tools?  I have found that I need to go buy some of them, as well!

Smoke detectors are one of those amazing inventions that, because of mass production, cost almost nothing. And while they cost very little, (around $7), smoke d­etectors save thousands of lives each year. In fact,it is recommended that every home have one smoke detector per floor.  All smoke detectors consist of two basic parts: a sensor to sense the smoke and a very loud electronic horn to wake people up. Smoke detectors can run off of a 9-volt battery or 120-volt house current.  Test your detectors regularly.

Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed outside all bedrooms.  CO is oderless and colorless, and can be fatal unless detected.  Place a detector outside all bedrooms.  Carbon monoxide poisoning impairs breathing, and can cause permanent brain damage or death, especially after prolonged exposure to this gas.  Learn what to do to help someone who has been exposed to it, by first getting them outside into fresh air, and calling for medical help immediately.

­A fire­ extinguisher is an absolute necessity in any home or office. While there’s a good chance that the extinguisher will sit on the wall for years, collecting dust, it could end up saving your property and even your life.  Most fire extinguishers asre combination Class ABC types.  Class A puts out fires of ordinary combustibles.  Class B is used on fires involving flammable liquids such as oil.  Class C is used on electrical fires.  Fire extinguishers are designed to remove at least one of these elements so that a fire will die out:

  • Extreme heat
  • Oxygen (or similar gas)
  • Fuel

One of the newer circuit breaker devices is the ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI.  These sophisticated breakers are designed to protect people from electrical shock, rather than prevent damage to a building’s wiring. The GFCI constantly monitors the current in a circuit’s neutral wire and hot wire. When everything is working correctly, the current in both wires should be exactly the same. As soon as the hot wire connects directly to ground (if somebody accidentally touches the hot wire, for example), the current level surges in the hot wire, but not in the neutral wire. The GFCI breaks the circuit as soon as this happens, preventing electrocution. Since it doesn’t have to wait for current to climb to unsafe levels, the GFCI reacts much more quickly than a conventional breaker.  These should be used especially in the laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen.

Last, but not least, every home should have First-aid/Emergency Kits that are stocked with the following basic first aid supplies, medicines, and home health supplies:

Bandages and dressings:

  • Adhesive bandages (Band-Aid or similar brand); assorted sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads and adhesive tape
  • Elastic (ACE) bandage for wrapping wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries
  • Triangular bandage for wrapping injuries and making an arm sling
  • Aluminum finger splints
  • Eye shield, pads, and bandages

Home health equipment:

  • Thermometer
  • Syringe, medicine cup, or medicine spoon for giving specific doses of medicine
  • Disposable, instant ice bags
  • Tweezers, to remove ticks and small splinters
  • Sterile cotton balls
  • Sterile cotton-tipped swabs
  • Blue “baby bulb” or “turkey baster” suction device
  • Save-A-Tooth storage device in case a tooth is broken or knocked out; contains a travel case and salt solution
  • First-aid manual

Medicine for cuts and injuries:

  • Antiseptic solution, such as hydrogen peroxide or wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin, polysporin, or mupirocin
  • Sterile eyewash, such as contact lens saline solution
  • Calamine lotion for stings or poison ivy
  • Hydrocortisone cream, ointment, or lotion for itching
  • Benadryl, if you know you are allergic to stings, etc.

By planning ahead, you can create a well-stocked home first aid kit. Keep all of your supplies in one location so you know exactly where they are when you need them.  Think about ensuring your family’s safety by having these important safety tools in your home.