The safety stuff

Hello all! Hope your week was great! We are supposed to have decent weather so the Christmas lights will be going up outside. WHOO! Can’t wait! Well, I guess I can since I’ll be doing most of it. Can’t wait for the result.

Today I want to talk about some of the necessary stuff when it comes to houses – the stuff that’s not pretty or exciting, but probably more important than anything else you’ll put inside.

I started thinking about writing this post because of a local tragedy that happened here in Indy last weekend. There was an explosion due to some kind of natural gas issue, and it destroyed five homes and significantly damaged 26 others (knocking many off their foundations). It happened in a neighborhood like so many of us live in. The saddest news of all was that two people were killed. It’s just horrible and the photos are unbelievable.

There’s a lot of investigation going on, but it did make me realize something – we’ve been missing an important alarm in our home for a while now. This was a good reminder to take care of it. While I was at it, I figured I’d share a few of the other safety precautions we take around the house.

Of course there are the smoke alarms – it’s so important to keep those up to date with fresh batteries! And I’ve considered changing out the one in our son’s room to the kind that uses your voice to wake them up. Some kids sleep so hard and I think that is a brilliant idea. Do any of you use that one? 

We always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, close to the oven:

kitchen fire extinguisher

It’s just a little one, but it would be better than nothing. I always know we have it if we need it, but every six months or so I take a couple minutes to look at the instructions and read how to use it (again). It’s SO simple, but it’s not something I look at every day, so I forget how to operate it. I know in the heat of the moment I won’t want to take the time to read if it something is burning. Like dinner. It’s happened. Well…close. ;)

Also, extinguishers have an expiration date of sorts – they don’t last forever. Ours usually last a few years. You just look at the little gauge and it will tell you if it’s full or empty:

fire extinguisher gauge

Once it says empty you’ll want to replace it. (I’ve heard giving it a little shake every few months helps them keep longer.)

And then there’s the stuff you can’t see – if you have a basement it’s recommended that you have a radon test done. The need for a test is higher in certain parts of the country, (Indiana has a higher concentration of radon in the ground) but no matter where you are, if you have a basement, I’d get one done.

You can find them at the store if you want to try it on your own:

radon test kit

I found this one at True Value and the test is only about $10. You do need to send the test off to be read and I’m pretty sure you pay extra for that. We’ve had our basement tested twice – once about four years ago when we really started using the (still unfinished) basement. I just bought a test from a hardware store and sent it off. If I remember right they emailed us the results. The levels were low enough we didn’t need to worry, but because we finished the basement this year and I knew we’d be down there more than ever, I had a professional company come in this last time.

They did a faster reading – it still took a couple days, but less than the test you send off. This time the reading was extremely low, which was a relief. But the levels can change, so we’ll have the test done once a year.

I’ve talked to some who say there’s not much to the radon gas issue – but I have done enough research to know we’d rather be safe than sorry.

And the one safety measure we take that I was reminded of recently is a carbon monoxide detector in the house:

carbon monoxide detectors

Last winter I kept hearing a beeping upstairs somewhere, and I of course thought it was a smoke alarm battery, so I went all over the place one day with my BFF holding the bottom of a ladder as I climbed to terrifying heights to change out batteries. I would do one, climb down, (we have tall ceilings up there), still hear the beep. Try another one, climb down, still here the beep.

It was maddening. My friend FINALLY located the source – our carbon monoxide detector had expired. Of course my initial thought was PANIC – I thought the beeping  meant we had poisonous gasses running throughout our house, but I quickly realized it was telling us it wasn’t working any more. (It usually tells you what the “beeps” mean on the detector.)

So it’s been awhile since that one pooped out on us (they last anywhere from a few to seven years), and this week I was reminded it was time for another. I found battery operated versions at my True Value and got a few – one for each floor:

carbon monoxide detector

If you only have one in the home (or if you have a one level house), it is recommended you keep it in your bedroom. Our last one was a plug in type, but these are battery-operated so they will stay on during power outages.

What’s nice is you can place these anywhere in the room you want. I put one in the family room on the floor behind a table, one next to the bed upstairs and one in the basement.

It’s just a little thing but it already makes me feel so much better. There’s already so much to worry about, am I right?

These range from about $20 to up to $60. I got the mid-range version that was $30. (I don’t see a huge difference in the pricier versions.) And while I was at True Value I picked up two extra carbon monoxide detectors to give away to two of you this weekend as well. Hopefully they will help put your mind at ease too!

If you’d like to be entered to win one of them, just leave a comment here this weekend! I’ll pick a couple winners Monday and get them shipped off to you next week.

Have a lovely weekend…are you getting ready for turkey day??


I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.