Take Charge of Family Security: 5 Vital Actions for a Safe New Year

(BPT) - Amidst the many New Year's Resolutions families set at the top of the year, creating household safety habits and ensuring preparation in an emergency should be at the top. With the CDC reporting 48% of Americans do not have first aid kits and 52% of Americans do not have copies of crucial personal documents, it's evident Americans have a lot of work to do to ensure family members are knowledgeable and have safety plans in place.

This year, to ensure safety is a top priority, check out these five important actions to help keep your family safe.

1. Create a home safety checklist

A comprehensive home safety checklist helps create a home environment that promotes security and peace of mind. The checklist should include checking smoke and CO detectors, including changing out batteries, locking windows, ensuring fire extinguishers are readily available in the kitchen and other shared spaces, and properly storing household chemicals like cleaning products. Regularly review and update this checklist.

2. Enroll in hands-free safety services

Did you know only 28.7% of U.S. households have a landline? Without a landline, it can be difficult to contact emergency services, especially for young children. However, technology can be a valuable ally. The new personal and family safety subscription Alexa Emergency Assist allows anyone in the home to use their voice to call for help, giving more peace of mind with fast access to urgent response agents 24/7 365 days a year - without having to search for your phone in the time of an emergency.

When you say, 'Alexa, call for help' on an Echo device, including an Echo Kids device, you will be connected to a dedicated, professionally trained agent who can request dispatch of police, fire, or ambulance, avoiding potentially long call hold or wait times.

Agents also have access to pre-saved critical information during the call - like your home address, medications, or allergies - saving time spent collecting information on the call and allowing first responders to be thoroughly prepared when they arrive at your home. The Urgent Response agent can also stay on the line with you until help arrives.

3. Teach personal safety habits

Encourage and empower your family members to develop personal safety habits. Emphasize the importance of staying aware of surroundings, exercising caution when speaking with strangers, and practicing basic self-defense techniques.

When talking with your family about safety habits, underscore the importance of paying attention to smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and to never ignore them. If you subscribe to Alexa Emergency Assist, Smart Alerts allow Alexa to detect signs of trouble - like if your smoke or CO alarm is ringing - and will notify you so you can take action whether you're at home or away.

Don't forget to highlight the importance of trusting your instincts and foster open communication so everyone feels comfortable voicing their concerns. By learning and practicing personal safety habits, you'll equip your loved ones (and yourself!) with the tools they need to confidently navigate changing situations.

4. Develop a trusted network

When it comes to keeping your family safe, you don't have to do it alone. Cultivate relationships with neighbors, friends, extended family, and community members to build a strong mutual support network. A network of trusted individuals is an invaluable resource that can help provide assistance during times of need.

If you subscribe to Alexa Emergency Assist, you can quickly notify your network in case of an emergency. The Emergency Contacts feature allows you to save up to 25 family members, friends, or loved ones to be automatically notified and informed when a call is placed to Urgent Response. A reliable network not only improves your family's safety, it also fosters a sense of belonging and community.

5. Create an emergency plan

A detailed and thorough emergency plan can make a huge difference in a crisis. Sit down with your family to discuss evacuation routes, emergency contact numbers, and designated meeting points. Talk about each family member's responsibilities during different types of emergencies. Even young children and teens have a role to play in an emergency, just by taking care of themselves.

Once you have a plan in place, review and practice the plan so everyone is familiar with the procedures in case of an emergency. By preparing for unexpected moments, you'll foster a sense of security and resilience.

Use these five tips to kick-start the new year with a focus on family safety. In doing so, you're laying the foundation for a safe and secure future and creating peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

January 17, 2024

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