It’s amazing how, after centuries of progress in America, some the oldest axioms and sayings can still hold the most relevance for us. For example, as we approach the midpoint of June, which is National Home Safety Month, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin (written under an assumed name) which so closely illustrates this.

“In the first Place, as an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure, I would advise ’em to take care how they suffer living Coals in a full Shovel, to be carried out of one Room into another, or up and down Stairs, unless the Warmingpan shut; for Scraps of Fire may fall into Chinks and make no Appearance until Midnight; when your Stairs be in Flames, you may be forced (as I once was) to leap out of your Windows, and hazard your Necks to avoid being oven-roasted.”

His advice was simple, direct, and very relevant to the people living in his era. Small mistakes, or oversights can quickly compound into life threatening conditions. Technology has brought us way beyond the point of carrying hot coals from one room to the next to keep warm, but has also removed our day to day thinking from the immediate danger a failure in our of our appliances, or an oversight on our part, can have.
In order to keep our families safe, we recommend you look to the following steps during home safety month, to be ready in the event of a fire or medical emergency.

Make sure you have working Smoke Detectors on each floor of your home, and within 15 feet of where your family sleeps. Regularly check them for operation and change the batteries every daylight savings when you change your clocks.

Many appliances in the household use natural gas, make sure you have working CO detectors installed per manufacturers recommendations, and call the fire department if they activate. CO detectors activate when appliances malfunction, but do not detect natural gas. If you smell a natural gas leak, call your fire department immediately!

Be prepared for a medical emergency with a well-supplied first aid kit, easily accessible in the home. If people in your family have prevailing conditions and take medication, keep a list nearby, or with it, for the paramedics when they arrive.

In addition to fire extinguishers in recommended household areas like the kitchen and garage, please prepare and share with your family and loved ones a Home Escape Plan. Extinguishers can help, but they also can provide a false sense of security in the event of a fire. Prepare and practice for leaving the house and being safe from a fire.

And finally, prepare ahead of time by checking the household for trip and fall hazards, loose flammable materials and ignition sources, and loose medications. These things have the potential of causing great harm, especially to seniors and small children, even when there is no pressing emergency.

The world moves faster and faster as technology advances, and it becomes easy to be lost in a world of distractions to the point where simple oversights can occur. Technology fails, oversights occur, but planning and “an ounce of prevention” can keep your family safe as much as it did in the 18th century!