Tips for Making Your Home Safer: Part I

October 4, 2013

It’s human nature to forget small things like locking the doors and turning the oven off, but keeping these small things in mind can prevent injuries and dangerous situations from occurring. Here are five tips for ensuring safety in your home.

1. Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers can help to control a fire before it spreads, and they are often overlooked in households. It’s typically recommended that you buy two so you have one available for learning how to use it and testing it. It’s best to put them in places that are easily accessible

Important to know: Fire extinguishers are most useful on fires in their early stages. If a fire is spreading quickly, always call 911 and exit your house as soon as possible.

2. Carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide gas is dangerous because it isn’t easily detected. It has no odor or color, so the only way to know if it’s there is with a carbon monoxide detector. It’s recommended that you install these devices near bedrooms. In case of an emergency, you’ll be able to hear when the alarm sounds. It is recommended that you place one on every floor of your home. Be careful not to put them near fuel-burning appliances or in rooms that get particularly humid (like bathrooms).

3. Smoke detectors

It’s important to make sure that all of the smoke detectors in your home are working (if possible, test them monthly). It’s recommended that you have one for every floor of your home, and that you change the batteries in them once per year. Create a fire escape plan with your family, as the majority of injuries/deaths from fires come from smoke inhalation. The faster you can get out of your home, the better.

4. Check your locks

You may want to consider getting deadbolt locks for your doors. Many are designed so that you can control who can make copies of the keys. It is best to install a lock with a bar that is as long as your door will allow. The longer the bar on the deadbolt, the safer your home will be from intruders.

5. Safety in your kitchen

Evaluating your habits in the kitchen is a great way to ensure safety. Be mindful of if you’ve left the stove or oven on, and whether you’ve turned the handles of hot pots toward the back of the stove. Things like keeping hot surfaces and containers away from the edges of counters and tables are important, especially if you have children, to prevent injuries from burns.

Research from the Home Safety Council shows that the most likely safety concerns in the home include slips and falls, fires and burns, and poisonings.  The Home Safety Council.org website is set up nicely so if you have children, you can click on a specific age group to get safety checklists and advice. They also have an option for safety tips for children with special needs. While the site is set up primarily for children, this is certainly applicable to safety for everyone.
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