As summer temperatures are on the rise, it’s important to have a safe and comfortable place to call your own. Your home should be your base of operations—the one location where you can always retreat and relax with the people you love. Whether this means installing air conditioning or stepping up your backyard security efforts, here are some of the most important steps you can take this year for increased summer safety at home. Devise a Cooling System: Although air conditioning is a great way to keep your home temperature comfortable, it can be costly to install and operate. If you don’t want to put in the financial investment, you can still keep your home cool. Here’s how: > Open the windows at night. If it gets cool in your area at night, you can take advantage of evening breezes by opening the windows and letting the natural air in (and then switch to air conditioning during the day).
> Install heat/cold curtains. Many types of window hangings (blinds, curtains, bamboo covers) are designed to reduce noise and extreme weather conditions. Although you won’t get as much natural light this way, you can drop the temperature by several degrees.
> Rely on breezeways. By strategically opening windows and setting up fans, you can ensure that the only air entering your home is cooled off. The cross breeze can also be helpful in reducing your home heat overall. Be Fire Vigilant: In the summer, many house fires are caused by dry brush surrounding the house or from things like a dryer vent that’s clogged with lint and dust. Be extra vigilant about summer fire hazards by cleaning out any area where flammable materials naturally gather. This is also true for things like hot coals and ash from your barbeque or fire pit, which should always be disposed of properly. Pool Maintenance: If you have the good fortune to have a pool in your backyard, it’s a good idea to perform annual maintenance and safety checks. This includes repairing cracks in the cement or tile, reducing slip hazards, balancing the chemicals in the water, and putting up safety gates for young ones. Even small kiddie pools or a few inches of water in a bucket can be dangerous if left unattended, so always approach water play carefully. Don’t Leave Standing Water: Speaking of kiddie pools, it’s rarely a good idea to leave standing water standing for long. Insects and other invasive critters love wet areas, and standing water left untouched for too long can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes or draw in bees. Check your property for areas where water might be collecting and take steps to clean it up. Pay Attention to Kids Outdoors: There’s nothing like summertime and kids playing outdoors. However, before you let the young ones run wild, do a safety check of your yard. Play areas should be clear of debris, holes in the yard should be filled in, playsets need to be in good repair, and driveways should always be clear of kids (and toys) before anyone uses them. Lock Up Yard Furniture: Although you might not love the idea of chaining up your lawn furniture every night, nice sets can be targets for theft. Get in the habit of securing your outdoor living area every evening so you can enjoy it for longer. (Summer storms can also blow these items around, so you’ll want to secure them during high winds.)
If you live somewhere that suffers from summer storms, you’ll also want to create a step-by-step plan for dealing with high winds, heavy rains, and other conditions. This plan should be tailored to your area and include things like trimming back tall trees and shrubs, securing windows, and having a safe place to go to avoid the most dangerous conditions.