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Your home is your sanctuary — a safe haven where you should be able to relax without a worry. However, for this blissful state, you need to keep a home safety checklist in place, periodically ticking off the points as you walk through your home.
You should be aware of the potential safety hazards. Unfortunately, some are not as obvious as a broken window or a toy lying at the top of your stairs! An accident or injury can occur in any part of your home, at any time.
Prevention is much, much better than feeling sorry later. A home safety checklist will definitely keep your home safe for you and your loved ones. Through this checklist, you can easily identify the problem areas and make changes at the earliest.
We highly recommend hiring a licensed professional for carrying out these home maintenance and safety steps.
Here is a home safety checklist to help you keep your home safe for the entire family.
- Install smoke detectors if you do not have them.
- Read the instructions on the smoke detector before installing it.
- Install the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every story of your home, outside every bedroom, and the furnace area.
- Place smoke detectors away from the air vents.
- Be sure to test your smoke alarms once a month to ensure they’re working properly.
- Check and replace batteries according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Give preference to dual alarms that use long-life lithium batteries.
- Replace any smoke detectors that are irreparable.
Pro tip: In many places, the fire department or local government provides assistance in helping you buy or install smoke detectors. Check with your local authority before buying one.
How to Choose a Good Home Fire Alarm System? Let’s check the basics here.
- Ensure that your extension cords do not run across doorways or under rugs, carpets, or furniture.
- Consider getting electrical outlets installed if you’re living in your own house.
- Arrange lamps and appliances nearer to the outlets to avoid the usage of extension cords.
- Place the cord on the floor against a wall so that people don’t trip over it.
- Use tape to attach the cords to the floor or wall.
- Check wiring for damage and replace frayed cords immediately.
- Remove any stray nails or staples.
Electrical outlets and switches
- Install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in your outlets to protect against electric shocks. This shock-protection device can detect electrical faults and shut off electricity before any serious injury.
- Do a hand check once a month. If the outlets are warm, call an electrician. It indicates unsafe wiring conditions.
- Make sure you stay within the wattage limit per outlet recommended by the manufacturer.
- Never plug in more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet.
- Add a cover plate. Exposed wiring is a sure-shot shock hazard.
Take a look at our guide on Important Things to Consider in Electrical Work When Renovating
Appliances and tools
- Unplug all appliances when not in use.
- Use a 3-prong adapter to connect a 3- prong plug to a 2-hole receptacle.
- Replace old tools that do not have a 3-prong plug or are not double insulated.
- Replace guards on your power tools.
- Always use a light bulb of the correct type, size, and wattage.
- Install light switches both at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Reduce glare by using indirect lighting, frosted bulbs, and lampshades.
- Install a night light or those inexpensive plug-in lights.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that since certain ceiling light fixtures, recessed lights, and closed lamps trap heat, too high a wattage may lead to fire through overheating.
- Keep flammable items away from your range and oven.
- Check your kitchen ventilation systems or range exhaust periodically.
- Use proper vents or open windows to clear out vapors and smoke.
- Do not let the kitchen appliances and power cords come in contact with water or hot surfaces. They may cause shock or electrocution. Or, may get damaged due to the excess heat.
- Move the appliances closer to wall outlets to avoid hanging wires.
- Make sure you do not hang towels close to a burner or oven.
- Shorten your kitchen curtains if they’re near a heat source.
- Rollback long, loose sleeves when you’re cooking.
Pro tip: Always keep a fire extinguisher handy. And, on every floor of your house. Replace them as directed by the manufacturer.
Living room or family room
- Check all electrical, telephone, and lighting cords.
- Ensure that you install the fireplace and fireplace doors properly.
- Get your chimney checked and cleaned by a licensed professional annually. A clogged chimney can result in poisonous fumes and smoke. Only burn dry or seasoned wood; it produces less creosote (soot) that’s a fire hazard.
- Buy rugs and carpets with slip-resistant backing.
Pro tip: Avoid rugs, carpets, and runners that tend to slide. If you cannot, try rubber matting or a double-faced adhesive carpet tape at the back. Keep checking them periodically to see if the backing needs to be replaced.
- Make sure your bathtubs and showers are equipped with non-skid mats, and the bathroom floor is not slippery.
- Apply textured strips or appliques on the tub and shower floor.
- Use non-skid mats on the bathroom floor.
- If you have an elderly person staying in your house, get grab bars installed. Be sure to attach them to structural supports in the wall.
- Check existing bars for stability. Repair if necessary.
- Lower the hot water heater setting to 120 degrees or lower. Water temperature above 120 degrees can cause tap water scalds.
- Always keep flammables, household chemicals, and aerosol cans away from your water heater.
- Light up every corner with maximum wattage bulbs.
- Clear your entryway and walkways of any furniture, boxes, or other obstructing items. These could be tripping hazards, especially in the event of an emergency.
- If you have a pool or any water feature on your property, block access to it with a 4-foot pool fencing.
- Make sure the access gate opens outward and closes automatically.
- Employ a self-latch system that’s out of reach of children.
- Consider using pool alarms for their safety.
- Ensure the grounding feature provided by a 3-hole receptacle to lessen the risk of shock.
- Keep your heaters and stoves away from furnishings and flammable materials, such as curtains or rugs.
- Keep them away from passageways and walkways.
- If you’re installing a heater, don’t forget to install it according to the instructions in the manual.
- Check the venting system of your heater frequently. Improper venting can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Call your local fire department if you have additional questions.
Medications and chemicals
- Make sure all medicines are clearly marked.
- Mention the contents, doctor’s instructions, expiration date, and the patient’s name.
- Dispose of outdated medicines in a proper manner.
- Get containers with child-resistant caps if you have small children in the house. Keep them beyond the reach of children.
- Make sure that you practice poison control by keeping your chemicals behind locked doors.
- Keep controlled substances such as alcohol and tobacco in a locked cabinet.
Escape route and emergencies
- Always have a plan of escape ready, especially in the event of fire.
- Map out at least two exit routes. A door opening to your backyard as well as an egress window are good ideas for an emergency exit plan.
- Buy a rescue ladder if your house has floors.
- Practice a fire escape drill at least twice a year.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers ready, including the local police and fire departments. Print and post them in high visibility areas.