7 Safety Essentials You Should Own

I’m just 1 person with a lot of tools to help me be safer. I’m not going to venture into controversial topics such as owning a handgun, because that is a personal decision based on your training, comfort, and experience. But I am going to make some suggestions about basic safety essentials I’d recommend you own, especially if you live alone like I do. 

7 Safety Essentials

  1. A good, secure door. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how few people have good locks on their doors. I recommend a quality deadbolt lock and a strong door (mine is steel, which comes with the added bonus of being able to attach magnets to it). Consider a door with a peephole and not side windows, so you can’t be seen approaching. If your door doesn’t have a way to look outside, consider a solution like the Ring doorbell. And always remember to keep your door locked. 

  2. Fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and extra batteries. One hopes you’ll never need the fire extinguisher, but having one on hand in good working order might literally be a life saver. Make sure to review the documentation so you understand how to use it; it’s no good having one and then not knowing how it works. Smoke detectors are standard and, again, obvious. But make sure to always have an extra set of batteries for them on hand. If one starts to die and beeps every 15 minutes, it’s tempting to turn it off and forget about it. A smoke detector is only good if it’s working. If you’re not sure if it’s working, it might be loud but ultimately doesn’t hurt to check.

  3. A fireproof safe. To piggy-back on the fire theme, it’s a good idea to have a fire safe that is big enough to contain any valuables and paperwork you need to store inside. Some things you might consider keeping in yours: passport, social security card, birth certificate, title to your car/house/etc., insurance policies, other important documents (will or living trust, travel visa, healthcare proxies, financial account documents, etc.), a list of electronic account passwords, a hard drive backup of your computer, heirlooms or sentimental valuables, spare car keys, medical information, and emergency cash.

  4. Flashlights. Yes, that’s flashlights plural. I recommend having at least one on every floor of your house or one in each room where you spend a considerable amount of time. Stumbling through a dark house when you lose power or hear a noise is not ideal. Your cell phone will work in a pinch, but if you’re in a real emergency you will want to save the battery power on your phone for important things like calling for help, accessing alerts, and checking Instagram for cute cat photos. Actually, scratch that last one. Make sure you have enough batteries for each flashlight as well. I also recommend flashlights that are big, metal, heavy, and could potentially be used as a weapon as well. 

  5. Basic tool box. Having the basics to be able to fix small problems is essential. This could mean hammering in a nail that’s come out or slapping some electrical tape to hold a cable in place. It could mean plyers to grab something that’s stuck or a wrench to tighten pipe connections. Even if you’re not a DIYer, having a basic tool box (and some duct tape) will often allow you to fix a situation or decrease the severity until a professional can deal with it. 

  6. First aid kit. You can buy a ready-made kit or start assembling a kit in a tin or plastic shoebox. Make sure to have bandages of all sizes, adhesive tape, gauze, and alcohol pads to start with. I also recommend: a thermometer, antibiotic ointment, safety pins, scissors, heat packs, cold packs, Mylar thermal blanket, wraps, tissues, tweezers, latex-free gloves, hand sanitizer, and a small reference book (in case the internet is down). You might also consider super glue, tourniquets, finger splints, eye shield, and face masks.

  7. Car safety kit. Emergencies and accidents don’t always happen at home. Having a kit in your car will help you stay safe on the go. Contents might include: a small first aid kit (see above), road flares, caution triangle with reflectors, wheel wench and jack, spare tire, multipurpose tool, and jumper cables. In my car, I also keep a bottle of water, wet wipes, a white towel, a blanket, a tool that breaks windows from the inside, an air compressor for filling tires, extra phone charging cables, and a “HELP” sign to post in the car window. It’s hard to find local road maps these days, but even an outdated one might help if your phone and GPS are out of juice. 

Be prepared! Whether you live alone or not, it’s a good investment to have items on hand that can help you stay safe. From safety whistles to bike helmets, emergency prep kits to credit score checks, I hope you will stay on top of your personal safety.  And I hope the above items will give you a place to start or from which to build. 

What items do you consider a safety essentials?

Photo by amir shamsipur on Unsplash

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