Living in a tiny house or small home is no excuse for ignoring safety. The decisions you make during this phase can be the difference between saving your property and not; saving your life or not. Consider the following preparations for your home.
There are two ways to learn safety: BEFORE the accident or AFTER
Smoke Detector – This is a basic item that has saved lives for decades that must be installed in every home. Install a smoke detector in the location(s) according to the manufactures directions. Smoke detectors have a life span of 8 to 10 years according to the manufactures so replace the entire unit accordingly.
CO2 Detector – With the tight construction of small dwellings to save energy, CO2 poisoning becomes an even bigger threat. Install a detector with alarm according to the manufactures directions.
Propane Gas Detector – This explosive gas accumulates at the floor level and then fills the room. If a spark occurs the gas will explode just like natural gas.
Automatic Controls – A system could be installed to turn of the gas at the tank source if the smoke, CO2 and /or gas detectors are triggered. This same systems could also turn off the electrical power and send you a text notification of this situation.
Fire Extinguisher – Have a hand held bottle of sufficient size and rating to respond quickly to a fire. This is excellent low cost self-insurance. Keep the extinguisher in visible sight for others to use without looking to find the bottle. You may want another extinguisher outside for the campfire or vehicle fires.
Fire Resistant Wood Treatment – This is an organic fluid that may be applied to un-finished wood surfaces to reduce flame spread.
Fire Sprinkler System – This is a system that will emit an organic fluid to extinguish a fire after detecting the heat. It’s not just water and is used for computer server rooms.
Loft Egress – Provide a window to escape the building if the only door is not accessible. Consider an exterior ladder to get down from a loft window in the event of an emergency.
Indoor Air Quality – Monitoring the oxygen level in your small home is very important since most small home are very air tight. Open a window when any exhaust fan is operating to provide a fresh air source to be exhausted.
Exit Access – Provide the proper landing and stairs to depart your home quickly even in the dark. Stairways should have uniform stair tread heights.
First Aid Kit – Have basic medical products available for quick emergency procedures.
Emergency Medical Center – Know where the closest emergency room services are located and the number to call if you need them to come to you. Know the location of your home to inform first responders in the event of any emergency. Have the location of your home clearly marked for emergency personal to find you quickly.
Trailer Breaks – If you are building a dwelling on a trailer you are required to have electric breaks. These breaks are activated if the trailer becomes detached from the tow vehicle. This is required in every state however, the gross weight of the trailer requiring breaks varies. Test the breaks before moving the trailer. Verify that the electrical connections on the breaks are a waterproof type and installed to prevent damage.
Trailer Size – Select a trailer, including the tires, with the proper load rating. Make sure that the tow vehicle is also rated to tow the trailer weight.
Construction Procedures – Learn construction safety and instruct casual helpers to work with the proper personal protection. Watch your helpers to avoid disasters especially when operating power tools and on ladders.
Construction Products – Install framing, electrical, plumbing, gas distribution, heating, air cooling and ventilating products according to applicable Codes. Just because there is not a government agency regulating your home building that doesn’t mean you should skip these Code requirements.
Gas CO2 Venting - Do not vent a gas building or water heater unit below an operating window. Vent your waist water piping and storage tanks, if any, to above the roof as these may be explosive gasses.
Utility Supplies - Safety for power and water starts at the source such as an RV park lot, rented lot on a private property or even in a friends back yard. Verify what you are connecting your home to before issues are discovered by accident such as poor water or low electrical power.
Propane Storage Tank – Never store propane inside of any closed area. Exterior enclosures for tanks must be open on the bottom to allow propane gas to be vented down.
Water-proof your home – Mold could take years to appear after the water feeds the growth. Protect every opening from seepage from rain.
If any of these safety issues are unclear please find someone you trust to gain additional information.
Generic Life Safety Drawing. May be reproduced without permissions.
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