Start off the new year by taking a look at the safety features of your home. Are you well-protected in case of an emergency? Here are some things you can add to ensure it's even safer. You can buy most of them at a hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's, or Amazon.
- An "emergency" ladder. That's the kind you drop out of an upstairs window in case you need to escape a fire. Price: about $35.
- Motion-sensor lights. Consider installing these near your front door, backyard, and garage. The instant motion-activated light will scare off nighttime intruders and also light your way when you go outside in the dark. Price: $30 to $70.
- High-tech door lock. Pricier than your average deadbolt, but now your smartphone or iPad can be your front-door key. Shop Amazon or big-box stores for a variety of products from $70 for a simple keypad to $180 for one you control with your phone.
- Fire extinguisher. This is a must-have in your kitchen, as well as your basement and garage. Put it in a convenient place and learn how to use it. It's best to go with a rechargeable multi-purpose A-B-C. Check the pressure once a month to make sure it's charge. Price: $40 to $85.
- Emergency radio. If your electricity goes out, you need one of these to get weather alerts. They run on batteries, hand-crank, or solar power. Prices start at $40 on Amazon but the $60 version will even recharge your smartphone.