Tips For National Home Safety Month

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by Russ Slaten

Summer is here and people are considering that well deserved vacation, but there are a few things to think about before leaving, to ensure your home is safe from harm.

Officials say people must consider home security and fire safety.

Fire safety starts with detection. Properly working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are key to saving lives from fires begun in the home.

"Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced by your heater or any flame producing appliance, and when that gas builds up in your house, it can reach toxic levels that can kill you. So a CO detector helps detect those types of gases before they are deadly," said Capt. Sean Fredenhagen of the Anchorage Fire Department.

Fire officials recommends checking smoke and CO detectors every month by pushing down on the test button and to replace batteries twice year.

"The most important aspect of a smoke alarm is that it detects a small fire before it has a chance to get bigger. And a smoke alarm will also work in the middle of the night when you're sleeping, and you're not aware of when a fire might start," Capt. Fredenhagen.

Fire officials say a fire extinguisher may be used to contain a fire only after 911 is called and only if it's small and containable.

Another aspect home safety is home security. Some people may feel it's safe to leave their doors unlocked when they're home, but Anchorage Police say a trespasser may enter without the resident knowing.

"You may be outside doing yardwork, somebody could easily come in and cleanout your home when you aren't even aware of it. So it's important to secure your belongings even when you are at home," said APD Spokesperson Anita Shell.

Police officials say residents should keep doors locked and utilize motion sensor lights outside and timed interior lights to deter burglars from entering.

More safety precautions exist with the front door. The door should have a deadbolt at least one-inch in length, with a strike plate held down by a screw at least 3-inches in length, in order to prevent burglars from breaking in to your home.

"Your house is your castle, and you're the only one that's in charge of making sure your castle is safe from intruders. So take a few minutes, take a look at your weaknesses. Figure out some ways to beef-up your security so that you don't become a victim of a burglary or some other type of crime," said Shell.

Many of these fire and home security products can be found at your local hardware store.

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