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10 home safety tips

Your home is your family's safe haven.

It's the place you return to each evening, leaving your workday worries - and the outside world - behind once you secure the front door.

These 10 home safety tips will help ensure that your home, sweet home is also home, safe home.

1. have a first aid kit at home.

Buy or assemble a first aid kit and keep it where you can grab it quickly.

Because accidents happen, you'll want to be prepared with first aid supplies to treat scrapes, burns, bites, and other minor and major mishaps that may occur at home.

A prepackaged first aid kit is the simplest solution; these come stocked with all the bandages, tools, and antiseptic wipes you may need.

But it might be less expensive to create your own kit. Be sure to keep the phone number of your nearest poison-control center, your pharmacy, and family members' doctors stored in your cell phone.

2. fire and carbon monoxide home safety tips.

Because the toxic gases from a fire could keep you from waking up should a fire ignite while you're sleeping, maintaining working smoke alarms for every room in your home is a must.

Install smoke alarms on the ceiling because as you know, smoke rises. A home fire extinguisher should also be kept on each floor and in any room where a fire could start, such as the kitchen or a workshop.Check fire extinguishers monthly to ensure they'll working properly.

Another safety must-have is a carbon-monoxide detector. This deadly, colorless, odorless gas is becoming more of a threat in today's energy efficient, air tight homes.

3. check your home for asbestos and lead paint.

If your home was built before 1978, it may contain asbestos around furnaces, pipes, heat ducts, and boilers; in the adhesive and backing beneath your linoleum floor;  and in cottage-cheese ceilings.

Asbestiosis and cancer have been linked to exposure to this carcinogen. Asbestos exposure is generally not a problem unless it's disturbed (by a leak in the roof or a child's bouncing ball, for example).

If it's crumbling or otherwise in poor condition, to be safe, consider getting an asbestos risk assessment of your home.

Lead paint, commonly found in homes built before 1980, can release lead-tainted dust during cleaning. If ingested or inhaled, it can cause permanent brain damage and other serious harm. Read Asbestos Awareness Safety Tips here for more information.

4. clear the exterior of your home for items that could assist a burglar.

Lock away all ladders, garden tools, trash cans, patio furniture, and other outdoor accessories that could help a burglar break and enter.

Trim vegetation near doors and windows. Thick shrubbery provides a perfect cover for intruders, allowing them to work undetected by your neighbors. Even a metal drainpipe can provide access to second-story windows, which are often left unlocked.

Stop climbers in their tracks by spreading a bit of petroleum jelly along pipes that reach above  ground level. (Read more home safety tips in Protect Your Home from Intruders here.)

5. secure your home's doors and windows.

Make sure entry points have window locks, dead bolts, or security devices for sliding glass doors. Windows and doors at street level are favorite entry points because they're easily reachable and often hidden from view. Read home safety tips for security door locks here.

6. be creative with stashing your spare house key.

No, underneath the doormat or beneath a flowerpot is not a safe place to stash your spare key.

These are the first places thieves look for keys in hopes of easy access to your home. Move the spare to a different, more creative location.

7. put identification on your valuables.

Engrave ID numbers on cameras, computers, and other valuables; photograph these items in case of theft or fire.

Create a record of your valuables that includes the price, year, and place of purchase as well as a detailed description of each item.

Following these home safety tips for logging your valuables will help the police in the event of a burglary, and will make it easier for you to file a claim on your household insurance policy.

Then store this record where thieves are unlikely to look, such as in the garage or in the back of a child's closet.

8. consider adding a home security system.

If you have a large, vulnerable home or priceless possessions inside it, you may opt for a more proactive method of protection - a home security system.

There's a simple solution: Install an alarm system. There are do-it-yourself options, such as an exterior perimeter alarm that will shriek when your home is broken into.

A professional home security system, on the other hand, calls you moments after an alarm is triggered and will dispatch local police if you don't respond.

While self-installed systems may be less expensive than professionally installed and monitored systems, they're also much less effective. A fully monitored system is the best value for your safety investment.

9. create a disaster preparedness kit.

Assembling a disaster kit should be a top priority. 

Your kit should contain enough supplies to see your family through at least three days without basic services. Getting these supplies all together before disaster strikes will make survival easier for you and your family. 

Use a water-tight container to store a first aid kit, canned food (and opener), a gas stove, cooking equipment, candles and matches, a portable radio, flashlights, and batteries. Your emergency kit should also include a gas or battery powered lantern and a waterproof tarp to shelter your family if you have to evacuate your home.

Plenty of drinking water (in unbreakable containers) is an absolute must; be sure to change it every few months.

10. be prepared for natural disasters.

While they may never happen to you, fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and other catastrophes strike millions of homes each year, so it's only prudent to prepare for them.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the home safety products and tools to help protect your home and family.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.