It's not too often that I share something so practical but recently two things got me thinking about home safety. First a neighbor of a friend of mine was burglarized. No one was harmed but the feeling of being violated and vulnerable felt by the whole neighborhood. My friend was obviously pretty shaken being one door down. She works full-time and also has kids so when she asked me to help her look for a home security system and some safety planning materials, obviously I was happy to help! I live in town homes, I have one entrance in the front and my back is gated, so it's just not something I had ever looked into myself. It's not something I have ever worried about where I live and not something my home owning friend worried about either. Statistically, the likelihood of being burglarized is pretty low but obviously it happens.
It's one of those things that happens to "other" people and then when the "other" people are people you know, you realize, "oh, I could be 'other people' too." These things always seem so much more real when they are close to home. However, I have been the victim of an intruder (luckily I ran out and called the police before we came face-to-face!) So it's been a little silly for me to not be more prepared! So, I looked into systems for my friend and I was surprised to find out that things I do currently worry about are also part of a home security system, such as fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detection and alerts - so you are getting much more protection that just that of a "burglar alarm." Well, I should say that I found this to be true at the place that I found to refer her to, homesecurity101.com; and if you are in the market too, they have several specials right now and their cost is really reasonable.
The second is recently M+L and I were driving in downtown Vancouver and we just happened upon their community safety fair. It was actually really, really cool. They had all their service departments for kids to get close up looks at Firetrucks, police cars, bomb squad robots, search and rescue teams and even a SWAT truck. They also had safety demonstrations, which also got me thinking. I can't tell you how many times I was asked "do you have a family safety plan? Security system? Fire alarms?" My answer was "nope. nope. yes."And after all the demonstrations and all the information they gave us I decided it's probably a good idea to map out a plan. And in truth when I started thinking of safety planning I found so many things to be simple responsible and practical. I also find for kids it's a good little lesson in self-empowerment (that's the former social worker and advocate in me talking - but totally true!). So here are a few things I thought I would pass along to get you thinking about your own family safety plan.
+ Keep a list of emergency numbers and update frequently. All the big ones: 911, poison control, non-emergency and also friends and family numbers that may need to be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep it in the same spot and make sure everyone knows where it is. Make sure anyone staying at your house, like a babysitter knows its location as well.
+ Teach your kids how to call 911 and memorize their address. Role play calling.
+ If you have a security system make sure everyone in the house knows how to use it.
+ Keep medications and poisons locked and away from small children. Know what all families allergies are.
+ Keep a copy of all important documents in a fire safety box or a copies with a trusted friend or family member.
+ Find all exits in your house and practice using them.
+ Make a meeting spot outside of your house. If possible have a 'safe neighbor' or two that your kids know they can run to in case of an emergency - or that you can run to as well!
+ Make safety rules really clear for kids.
+ Keep porch lights on. Let neighbors or a trusted person know if you will be out of town.
+ Make sure doors and windows are latched.
+ Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and check regularly.
You can also find more in depth home safety plans just by searching online. Many have print outs and supply lists both for adults and kids.
What safety measures do you take at home? Anything to add to this little list?