I had a water heater emergency today, and as all of the drama was unfolding I realized how unbelievably ill-equipped I am to handle home emergencies. Now that I am aware of this problem, it's time to start schooling myself...
This afternoon I was in my home office working on my computer, and I started to smell something burning, like plastic or rubber. I immediately started looking all over the house to try to find it. I went outside to see if it was coming from there, but I couldn't find it anywhere. As I went back to the office it started getting worse, and I went looking again with no luck. Then it became unbearable' and this time when I went downstairs, the smell was much stronger, and there was smoke in the air.
What did I do? I started to panic. I have never had my own house before and totally didn't know what to do. My biggest worry was that something might blow up. I looked quickly to see if there was a fire and there wasn't. I couldn't see where the smell was coming from, so I turned off the power and the water heater, opened up all the doors and windows, grabbed my cats and headed out to the backyard where I called my landlord (who never called me back) and my husband, who headed home.
It seems that the water heater leaked, shorted out, and torched a plastic cover inside it. We aired out the house and will wait for the property manager to finally call us back and replace it.
Do you know how to turn off your water, power, gas? Do you know how to put out a grease fire? Do you know the major things that could go wrong with systems or appliances and what to do if they do? Do you know who to call for what? Do you know if the situation is life-threatening or could become so? If not, start here...
Home Emergency Basics:
1. Learn how to turn off your power, water, gas, and water heater.
2. Know how to fix an overflowing toilet.
3. Get natural gas and carbon monoxide detectors and a couple of new fire extinguishers.
4. Know how to deal with a house flood.
5. Learn how to handle all types of kitchen fires.
6. Learn how to respond to a house fire. Do you have an escape plan for yourself, your family and your animals?
7. And always keep a list of emergency numbers for maintenance, hospitals, emergency vet, and police.
More Home Safety on Apartment Therapy:
• Healthy Homes Are Safe: An Emergency Prepardeness Checklist