Home safety checklist
Your home should be your safe haven, but have you taken enough precautions to ensure that you and your family are protected?
Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council, says, "Creating a safe home is a bit like creating a healthy lifestyle. You don't achieve good physical health solely by purchasing and relying on exercise equipment and accessories. Ongoing and consistent safety practices and behaviors should be incorporated into the family's overall lifestyle, supported and enhanced by safety products."
She says that 97 percent of households have smoke detectors but only 19 percent of the families living there actually test the alarms at least quarterly. If your smoke detector’s battery is dead, you will get no warning in the event a fire breaks out. Most deaths in a home fire result from smoke inhalation so that little alarm may be the difference between life and death!
Don’t be caught unprotected. Follow this home safety checklist.
- Test your smoke alarms on the first of every month. It takes only a few minutes.
- Walk from room to room and identify possible hazards—like places that might cause someone to trip, slip, or fall.
- Look in all your cabinets to ensure that hazardous items—medications, cleaning products, matches, lighters, knives, scissors—are out of the reach of children.
- Check the locks on all doors and windows to make sure they open and closely properly. You can install glass break detectors that emit a loud sound when someone is tampering with your windows.
- Never set a hot pot, dish, or kettle on a dishcloth on the kitchen counter. A curious child might tug on the towel and be badly burned.
- Make sure all cords and plugs are intact. An exposed wire can trigger a house fire.
- Make sure that both your interior and exterior are well-lit, and check the light bulbs when you check your smoke detectors. Consider adding motion sensor lights near points of entry.
- Install a home security camera so you can keep an eye on your home, even when you’re not there.
- If you have throw rugs, secure them with a non-skid mat to prevent slipping.
- Place a dowel or metal bar on the inside runner of any sliding doors to prevent anyone on the outside from opening it.
- Get your clothes dryer vent professionally cleaned once a year to remove flammable lint.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned every year before the cold weather sets in. Creosote build-up can spark a fast-burning chimney fire. Burning unseasoned wood create more creosote, so use only seasoned wood.
- Don’t overload your electrical outlets. Plug in only one high-wattage appliance per outlet.
- Set the water heater for 120°F to avoid scalding.
- Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen and on every floor of your home. Make sure they are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and teach all members of the household how to use them.
- Keep a rechargeable flashlight plugged in near your bed.
- Set interior lights with timers when you’re going to be away for any extended period.
- Make sure your house number can be easily seen from the street so that emergency vehicles can find you more quickly.
- Create an emergency plan with at least two exit routes, and attach a rescue ladder to upper levels of your home.
- Keep a list of emergency contacts and phone numbers in several places for easy access, including poison control, police, fire department, doctor, veterinarian, family, and neighbors.
It’s not difficult or expensive to keep your home safe. Make it a regular routine to go through this checklist.