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TRICOR Home Safety

Home Safety


  • Emergency . . . 911
  • National Poison Control Hotline
    (800) 222-1222


Poison prevention, firearm safety, routine maintenance, theft prevention and child safety procedures will help keep your family safe within your home. You may download the TRICOR Home Safety brochure. PDF For more information regarding Home Safety, contact our agents or call our main office at 1-877-468-7426.

Poison Prevention

Post the number of the national poison control hotline next to every phone:

Each year in the U.S., more than 250,000 people are injured by swallowing or coming into contact with poisonous substances in the home.

Children age five and younger are most at risk for death or injury from poisoning. For children, the most common causes of poisoning are items found in the home. Those items include cleaning products, beauty products, and medicine. Some plants can also poison children.

Poison prevention is not just for homes with small children. Adults need to be careful too. For adults, some of the most common causes of poisoning are pain relievers and other medicines.

  • Be sure all dangerous household products have child-resistant caps. Put those caps on medicines, cleaning products, anti-freeze, and pesticides. Keep such items in a locked cabinet. Don't leave any medicines in a drawer or purse.
  • Check every medicine bottle for an expiration date. If any medicines have expired, flush them down the toilet. Do not put them in the trash, where tiny hands could find them.
  • Mop up spilled anti-freeze or motor oil right away. They are very poisonous for children and pets.
  • Keep household chemicals in their original containers. Read label directions carefully. They often give important safety and first aid information.
  • Wear gloves when using cleaners or other household chemicals. Follow label instructions for use.
  • Do not mix household chemicals or cleaners. They could explode or produce harmful fumes.
  • Store food and non-food items separately.
  • Cover all trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep gasoline in a container approved for gasoline storage. Store the container in a garage or shed. Use gasoline as a motor fuel only. Gasoline can burst into flames easily. Never bring any gasoline into the home.

Firearm Safety in your Home

Every time you pick up a firearm, you pick up a responsibility. Safe storage of your firearms is YOUR responsibility.

  • Unload all firearms before taking them into the home. Simple reason dictates that firearms should be loaded only when in the field or open range. At all other times, during travel and especially in the home, they should be kept unloaded.
  • Never handle or show guns without first carefully checking to be sure they are unloaded. Open the action and keep it open until the gun is again ready for storage. Never assume that a firearm is unloaded, even if it was checked only a few minutes earlier. And don't trust the safety to compensate for unsafe gun handling. Like all mechanical devices, safeties can malfunction. They are only intended to supplement human care and intelligence.
  • Among experienced gun handlers there is a kind of ritual that is repeated whenever a firearm is shown or examined. The person picking up the gun opens the action and checks to make sure it is not loaded. When the gun is handed over to the second person, he goes through the entire procedure again. This is not an insult to the original handler. In fact, most shooting veterans take it as a sign of gun-savvy and competence, because there is just no way to be overcautious about firearms safety.
  • Long arms, such as rifles and shotguns, should be stowed securely in racks or cabinets, preferably locked. Handguns should be stored in a locked cabinet or drawer. Locked storage is particularly important if there are children in the home. Standing a shotgun in the closet corner or keeping a pistol in the desk does not do the job. If the proper storage facilities are not available, trigger locks should be purchased. Different types are available for use on all kinds of guns, including revolvers and pistols, and they prevent even a fully loaded gun from being fired.
  • On the practical side, guns should be stored in a reasonably dry environment but away from exposure to heat. Dampness causes rust, and heat can bake the wood of stocks and grips to the point of cracking or splitting.
  • All ammunition should be kept under lock and in a location separate from firearms for complete safety. Again, this is especially important if there are children in the home. An extra measure of safety can be had by storing ammunition in another room or on a different floor level. The objective is to create a situation in which conscious effort is required to bring firearms and ammunition together. Obviously, the keys to all storage areas must be kept away from children.

When handling firearms, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Avoid horseplay at all times. Guns are not toys and they must be handled with respect. Common sense must be used in choosing the safest direction to point the muzzle. "Down" is not always the safest direction and neither is "up."

Routine Home Maintenance

One of the most important things to remember is that you are responsible for certain routine maintenance items to keep your house functioning properly. These tasks tend to be relatively simple. For instance, many types of heating and air conditioning systems contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. A home owner should change these filters when necessary.

On the outside of your home, make sure that gutters and downspouts do not get clogged with leaves or other objects. The exterior of your house is built to withstand exposure to the elements, but a periodic cleaning will improve the appearance and, in many instances, prolong the life of siding and other exterior products.

When you bought your home, you probably received a warranty from the builder on workmanship and materials. This warranty applies to problems related to the construction of the home, but it does not apply to problems that arise because of failure to perform routine maintenance. For example, if your roof begins to leak after six months because of faulty workmanship, your warranty would cover that. If you develop a problem because water backed up in clogged gutters that you should have cleaned, the builder is not responsible for repairs. Also, some items, such as appliances, may be covered by manufacturers' warranties and are not the responsibility of the builder. You should fully familiarize yourself with the terms of your warranty soon after you move into your home.

If your home has a fireplace, make sure to inspect your chimney every 6 months for obstructions. Nesting animals often make nests in chimneys which obstruct the air flow and present a fire hazard and smoke hazard.

Dumping baking soda down the garbage disposal once a month will keep your kitchen sink smelling fresh.

Theft Prevention

Home Safety

Where is the easiest entry? How can you make it more burglar resistant? Trim trees and shrubs near your doors and windows, and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard. High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy, but privacy is a burglar's asset. Consider trading a little extra privacy for a bit of added security. Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy - light. Exterior lights, mounted out of easy reach, can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.

Are any of your valuables - such as a painting, a silver collection or an antique chair - easy to see from outside? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it serves to make your home less inviting to criminals! Incidentally, should you ever need to report a burglary or file an insurance claim, a household inventory - (a listing of your furniture and major personal belongings) - could be a valuable document.

Doors. Outside doors should be metal or solid hardwood, and at least 1¾ inches thick. Frames must be made of equally strong material, and each door must fit its frame securely. Remember, if it is placed in a weak door, even the most efficient lock will not keep out a determined burglar. A peephole or a wide-angle viewer in the door is safer for identifying visitors than a door chain. Sliding glass doors present a special problem because they are easy to open, but there are locks designed for them. A broomstick in the door channel can help, but don't depend on it for security.

Locks. Deadbolt locks are best.

Windows. Key locks are available for all types of windows. Double-hung windows can be secured simply by "pinning" the upper and lower frames together with a nail, which can be removed from the inside. For windows at street level, consider iron grates or grilles. For windows opening onto a fire escape, metal accordion gates can be installed on the inside.

Child General Safety Tips


  • Everyone who buys toys should remember that playthings are safe only when they are chosen according to a child's age, interest and skill level.
  • Discard the plastic wrappings from the toys immediately before they become deadly playthings.
  • Teach older children to keep toys designed for them away from younger children.
  • Keep toys and play equipment in good repair. Discard toys that can't be made safe.
  • Teach children to put toys away. Leaving playthings on sidewalks and stairs can cause falls.

Decorating With Plants

  • Plants can be toxic. Know the names, both common and scientific, of all plants in your home and garden. In some cases, ingestion of poisonous plants may include symptoms such as nausea, burns in the mouth and on the hands, a burning throat, convulsions, gastric upset, dizziness, unconsciousness, cold, clammy sweats, difficulty in breathing and other symptoms.

Fire Safety

Home Safety
  • Install smoke/fire detectors in each room, at a minimum, on each floor. These detectors should be tested on a monthly basis. Batteries should be replaced twice per year.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home, and know how to use it.
  • Devise at least two fire escape plans and practice them.
  • Place all lighters and matches in a locked drawer or metal box. Don't play games with fire. Teach your children the dangers of lighters and matches and to notify you anytime they find a lighter or matches.

Information Sources