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  1. Know your shut-off valves. Seconds can count when an emergency require you to shut off an incoming source for gas, electricity, and water, so know and mark where your shut-off valves are for each one in your home.
  2. Check your washer and dryer. Replace worn out rubber hoses in your washing machine that can burst, spilling hundreds of gallons of water on the floor. Swap them out for steel-belted hoses. Regularly clean lint build up in your dryer vent to prevent fires, as well as improve drying times (saving energy in the process).
  3. Plan ahead when not at home. Having a monitored security system is great, but the next best thing (and something that works well in tandem with it) is to give the appearance that someone’s home while you’re away. Keep a radio turned on and tuned to a talk station, and have a friend shovel your walkway or park a car in your driveway.
  4. Smoke detection protection. Every home should have at least one smoke detector on each floor and test the batteries annually.
  5. Prepare for severe weather. Take a look around and consider upgrades and simple maintenance to help minimize damage from wind and water. Also consider keeping at least minimal supplies handy for emergency repairs – tarps or plastic sheets; nails; boards or furring strips to help anchor the tarp/plastic in case of broken windows or roof damage that causes leaks.