A Guide to Home Emergencies
By Lizzie Weakley
Home is usually the place we feel safest, but even that sanctuary from the outside world has its problems from time to time. Emergencies in the home are an inconvenience, an expense and a danger at any age, but the challenge is a little greater for older adults. These four ideas can help reduce your risk of experiencing an emergency and help you get a better outcome when one does occur.
Clear a Path
Many essential elements of a home are in remote locations. Breaker boxes, water cutoffs and smoke detectors may be difficult to access due to their height or the presence of obstructions. The result can be a dangerous fall, or at the very least, a slower response to the problem. Take some time before an emergency to clear a path to these essentials. This will allow you to make quick access when a pipe breaks or a breaker trips. Keep a sturdy step stool handy on each level of the home.
Have Contact Information Handy--And Legible
Some problems can’t be dealt with by even the best DIY homeowner. The resolution of those situations usually requires a call to a company that provides plumbing services, electrical repair or whatever specialized trade is necessary. Because these emergencies often pop up when you are least prepared, you may struggle to find and read the phone numbers. Make a list of all those essential numbers, written in large print in case lighting is poor or your glasses aren’t close by.
Know Your Home
When did you install your water heater? How often are you changing furnace filters? Are you sure? We all think we’ll remember these things, but then we all forget. Get a homeowner’s book to record information like this. You can also keep warranties, insurance policies and even details like paint colors in it. If its contents are important enough, store the book in a fireproof safe.
Have a “Right Now” Contact
Not every contractor is available 24/7, but emergencies happen at all hours. What do you do when your chosen service provider is unavailable? A good strategy is to enlist the help of a relative or neighbor. If you know someone who is knowledgeable about the basics of these situations, ask if you can contact them when no one else is available. At the very least, your contact can stabilize and secure the situation until business hours.
Whether we’re young or old, we all worry about how to deal with home emergencies. Those little crisis moments don’t have to be such a worry, though, as long as we anticipate those problems and take a few extra steps to prepare.