HOME SAFETY CHECKLISTInjuries in the home are on the rise. The following list of home safety items is not all-inclusive, but it's a start. Depending on the age and layout of your home, items such as hot tubs or fireplaces and the age and mobility of family members may indicate additional safety needs. |
Smoke Alarm. Most home deaths happen between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Many victims die because of smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, and especially near bedrooms. Be sure to test batteries at least once a month and never remove batteries except to replace them.
Carbon Monoxide Detector. Because CO is odorless, colorless and tasteless, it often goes undetected. Carbon monoxide is a normal byproduct of combustion. Therefore, any fuel-burning appliance in your home is a potential CO source. Every home should have at least one CO detector placed in an area near the bedrooms. Be sure your detector displays the Underwriters Laboratories (UL 2034) label.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter. A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an electronic device that helps protect you from serious injury by monitoring the electricity flowing in the circuit. If an imbalance occurs, the GFCI will almost instantly shut off the current flowing through the circuit. A GFCI is essential in circuits to bathrooms, laundry facilities, kitchens, swimming pools and outdoor receptacles. Test the GFCI monthly by pressing the test button and then the reset button.
Fire Extinguisher. A multipurpose dry chemical Class ABC fire extinguisher is the best choice for general home use. Mount the extinguisher on a bracket on the wall near an exit. Teach family members when and how to properly use the extinguisher.
Emergency Evacuation Plan. Make your plan now - before you need it. Have at least two exits from every room and include all occupants of the home in reviewing the plan.
Flashlights. Make sure the batteries are functional. Keep flashlights readily accessible at bedsides and in the basement.
First Aid Kit. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home. Make sure everyone knows where to find it and how and when to use the items in it.
List of Emergency Phone Numbers. Post a list of emergency numbers including police, fire, doctors and poison-prevention centers at every telephone in the home. In the event of an emergency, time is of the essence and even a very young child can phone for help if the number is available.
Tagged Shutoffs. Place tags on the shutoff valves in your home for gas, oil and water, and the main shutoff for your electrical supply. Know how to safely turn off these services to your home in the event of an emergency.
Grab Bars. Install grab bars in all bathtubs and shower stalls. Firmly anchor them into the wall studding with long screws.
Slip-Resistant Finishes. Use a non-slip mat or install strips or decals in bathtubs or showers to help prevent slipping.
Safety Glazing. Shower doors, patio doors, window walls or any other large glass panel in your home should be made with safety glazing materials (safety glass). Look for a permanent mark in the lower corner showing the manufacturer's name, type of safety glass and thickness.
Handrails. Every set of stairs, whether inside or outside your home, should have handrails securely mounted to both sides.
Step Stool/Utility Ladder. A light-weight, sturdy step stool or utility ladder is necessary for access to hard-to-reach places, for hanging pictures, for cleaning and for general home maintenance. Having it readily accessible will keep you from using a chair.
Lighting. Use nightlights near bathrooms, bedrooms and stairwells. Make sure stairwells and hallways are always adequately lit. Provide sufficient lighting to all walkways and entrances to your home.
Tested Appliances. All electric and gas appliances in your home should carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or American Gas Association (AGA) designation.
Safety Goggles. Eye protection is an absolute must for the do-it-yourselfer, but is also recommended for indoor cleaning and yard and garage work.
Inspect your home regularly. Read warning labels and user manuals and file them where they can be found quickly. Special consideration must be given to homes where children live or visit. Ensure the home has:
| ||A lockable, child-proof section for every medicine cabinet.|
| ||Locking cabinets for matches, lighters, flammable liquids, potentially poisonous household cleaners, garden pesticides, auto chemicals, pool cleaners, etc. Be certain that guns and ammunition are locked away.|
| ||Plastic safety caps to cover any unused electrical outlets; cabinet locks for kitchen, hobby areas and bath vanities.|
| ||Child-safety gates at the top and bottom of stairwells.|
| ||A metal fire screen that completely covers the fireplace.|
| ||Spout guards and a mixer faucet for hot and cold bathtub water faucets.|
| ||Edge guards for sharp-edged furniture and fireplace hearths.|
| ||Protective surfacing under and around all outdoor playground equipment.|