The Mountlake Terrace Community Policing Advisory Board, a citizen board commissioned by the City of Mountlake Terrace, issues a monthly “Safety Tips” release for ongoing public safety and awareness. This is the May 2013 Safety Tips:
Spring Home Safety
Here are several seasonally routine home maintenance tasks, with associated tips, for an accident-free spring.
– Protect you home from fire by having the right fire extinguisher. If you have a fire extinguisher, learn how to use it and store it properly. Make sure you understand what your extinguisher is best suited for and only use it for that designation. Class A extinguishers are for paper and wood; Class B, combustible liquids such as gasoline; and Class C, for electrical fires. If you’re shopping for one, choose Class ABC or BC to fight fire of different sources.
– By cleaning your dryer vent, you can have a safe spring. A build up of lint in the vent is a fire hazard and can reduce the efficiency of your dryer. If it’s possible, clean it yourself or have a professional do it for you. If not, replace the hose entirely.
– Protect your guests when they are on your deck by doing a safety check. If you have a deck, check for any sharp edges, splintered or rotting wood. Also look for rusting nails or any nails that are coming out or weakening the structure. And be sure to check the railings and stairs to make sure they are secure and not wobbly.
– Prevent falls. Snow or cold can wreak havoc on your walkway and its subsequent unevenness can cause injury. Patch cracks and replace loose bricks and pavers.
– If you haven’t done it, replace your smoke alarm batteries and ensure that they are working properly. Also, if the smoke alarm is older than 10 years old it should be replaced. You can also have the Snohomish County fire district replace them for free by calling 425-551-1200.
– Check the batteries of your carbon monoxide detector and make sure it is working properly. You should have one in every entryway of your home.
– At least once a year check the safety (pressure relief value) valve on your water heater and make sure that the water is draining outside. Look around the base of your water heater for evidence of leaks. The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years. If your water heater is more than five years old it should be checked monthly for any leakage or rusting at the bottom. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater should be replaced. If you live in an area with particularly hard water you may need to drain your water heater because of the sediment buildup in the tank.
– Protect your home against unwanted animals eating your wiring. Make sure that all the accesses to crawl space are sealed and screened so raccoons stay out. If your home has an attic fan, turn it on to be sure it is working before our hot weather hits. Homes with crawlspaces need vents open and free of debris to help airflow and reduce moisture under the home. Inside your home, clean HVAC vents and change the filter. Also, now is also a good time to be sure the AC works before the heat and humility arrive.
– Be safe when cleaning your roof. When using a ladder always work on a buddy system. Have one person hold the ladder when the other is going up or down. Make sure the ladder is on firm level ground and the angle of the ladder is steep enough that it will not slide. When on a roof walking around, do not step on the edge of shingles. If there is a lot of moss, always secure yourself. And if you cannot do it with a buddy call a professional.
– Remember, if you are not confident in doing your home repairs yourself, or if you have any safety concerns, it’s often best to call a professional.