Resolving to be better and do better this year is commendable. It, unfortunately, often lacks the focus and direction to really reflect what should be improved upon and what is just a reaction to societal pressure. Lose weight and exercise? Yes, those are good ideas if you are doing it to improve your health so that you can be the best version of yourself for your family. More often than not, these kinds of resolutions are more about living up to what we are taught to treasure instead of what we ought to treasure.
Home Safety Resolutions to Keep Your Family Protected
What CAN You Do?
There are such things as mindful new year’s resolutions and it’s all about for what purpose you make them.
Since Covid restrictions are phasing out, we are not spending as much time in the home as we have been the last two years. This does not, however, mean that we should shift our safety focus away from the place where our loved ones spend most of their time.
These home safety resolutions will ensure that you provide the most secure space for your family:
Gut Your Gutters
We know it’s a messy job, but it matters more than you think. Blocked up gutters have several downsides. If you still have metal guttering and you leave clumps of decomposing leaves in them, the added moisture can lead to corrosion of the metal and holes rusting through.
This in turn creates uneven water flow, with rainwater not travelling towards the downpipes, but rather gushing through the holes where you don’t want water gushing, like over doorways or walkways or directly into garden beds causing erosion and soil displacement.
Mould spreads faster than you would expect and is often a silent contributor to health issues like allergies, asthma, sinusitis and rashes. Moulds produce allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.
January is often a wet month, and while you are up there on your ladder, use the time to check on your roof. If you have a tiled roof, look out for loose or cracked tiles, and check for leaks.
Also, take a moment to look out for heavy tree branches that might be a fall risk on roofs and patios. Trim them or have them professionally removed.
While you are outside, check your outdoor taps and irrigation system for drips and leaks, and inspect drains, looking for overflows indicating a blockage further down the pipeline that might pose a risk to your family.
Gas it Up (and Turn it Down)
If you have a gas stove, or gas geyser system, the connections and installations should be checked and serviced b a professional about once a year. This ensures that you have the updated certification to be covered by homeowners insurance if something should go wrong.
January is a good time to have this sorted out. If you have a conventional electric geyser, do yourself a favour and climb into the roof to check it for leaks, frayed electrical connections and ensure that the overflow valve and drip tray are on good order.
Top Tip: While you’re up there, why don’t you also turn down the thermostat? This is not simply a safety feature, especially if you have children in the home, but will also save you money spent on heating in the long run.
Most South African households don’t really focus much on fire safety. This is because we don’t have the high fire risks of houses in Europe and the US, often built from wood and drywall. All homes do still pose a fire risk, and unlike a plumbing crisis, fire is an all-consuming nightmare that can easily spread and destroy your entire home, not to mention putting your whole family in danger.
There are a couple of things you can do to minimise your risks and create a family safety plan.
One of the first, easiest and cheapest things you can do is to invest in a couple of good quality battery-operated smoke detectors as well as a household fire extinguisher.
Discuss a Family Safety Plan.
Try to stick to age-appropriate information and don’t scare your children, but explain what to do when there’s a crisis and how to get to safety, older children who might be left alone at home for certain periods of time should also be taught who to call in a crisis and how to evacuate the house safely without the guidance of a parent.
Here’s To a Safe 2022
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the things we need to do regularly to ensure the safety of our homes. Taking a moment at the beginning of the year to tick of these basic home maintenance items will greatly improve your peace of mind, allowing you to focus on making 2022 your year!