A home fire or a major water leak is probably not the time to start brushing up on your emergency preparation skills. Just like home insurance, you hope you never need them, but you want them at the ready, just in case. Here are some emergency tips to get you started. And if it’s a real life or death emergency, don’t forget the option of calling 9-1-1.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER: You should probably have one in each room where there is an open flame including the stove and fireplace. With only 8-seconds of fire-fighting power, you should memorize the acronym PASS: P= Pull the pin. A= Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames. S= Squeeze the trigger. S= Sweep the spray from side to side.
WATER SHUT-OFF VALVE: While all toilets and sinks have nearby shutoff valves, you can stop water from entering any pipe in your house by closing the main shutoff valve. If you don’t know where it is, you should find it. If you’ve never tried working, try it. Turning the valve clockwise, ‘right-y tight-y’, cuts off the water.
OVERFLOWING TOILET: If the water in the bowl starts rising toward the top because of a blockage, remove the tank top and grab the black rubber ball float at the end of the lever and pull up. This will stop water from flowing into the bowl and give you time to turn off the toilet’s water source.
CIRCUIT BREAKERS: You should know where the circuit breakers are in your house and what each one does in case of fire or flood. Usually the breaker box is in a laundry room or the garage. Identify the main switch that kills the power to the whole house. And then work with a friend to identify and label each individual breaker for room lights, appliance, and outlets. For a permanent record, take a picture with your smartphone when you’re done.