6 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.
While your walls provide safe refuge within which you can weather the storms of daily life, ensuring your family's physical safety while inside requires some extra precautions.
Some dangers around the home you can detect before they cause harm; others do their damage without warning.
Prepare for both with these 6 home safety tips.
1 Be Prepared for Emergencies
- Buy or assemble a first-aid kit.
- Keep emergency numbers in your phone, and place a written list on the fridge for visiting family, friends, and babysitters.
2 Address Dangers Around Your Home to Prevent Accidents
- Make sure entrances are well lit.
- Keep walkways, stairs, and halls clear.
- Place nonstop stickers or a mat on the bottom of the tub and in the shower.
- Turn down the hot water heater to 120 degrees F. (49 degrees C).
3 Home Fire Safety Tips
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, workshop, garage, and near bedrooms.
- Install smoke detectors in all bedrooms, outside their doors, and in hallways leading to them; at tops of stairs; in basement den or office. Test monthly; replace batteries annually.
- Keep bedroom doors closed at night.
4 Mitigate Health and Safety Risks at Home
- Asbestos: Give it a wide berth if it's intact; call an expert if it crumbles.
- Carbon monoxide: Install detectors and make sure batteries are fresh.
- Lead paint: Test old painted surfaces for lead; if they contain it, paint or wallpaper over them.
- Radon gas: Test for it and have it eliminated if necessary.
5 Home Safety Tips to Prevent Intruders
- Trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. These provide cover and/or facilitate access to upper areas of your home.
- Remove ladders, trash cans, and garden tools from the yard. These items can also assist an intruder in cover and access.
- Coat metal drainpipes up to the second floor with petroleum jelly to keep burglars from climbing the pipes.
- Install motion-sensor lights outside.
- Add locks to first- and second-story windows. (In bedrooms, leave one window lock-free, however, to serve as an emergency exit.)
- Put a broom handle or metal bar in tracks of sliding glass doors (unless that door is an emergency exit).
- Replace hollow-core front doors with a metal or solid wood door that's much harder to force open.
6 Be Prepared for Disaster
- If you live in an area prone to floods, make sure to include life preservers with your disaster kit.
- If you home lies in earthquake country, bolt bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs to prevent them from toppling on family members in the event of a temblor.
- Whipping winds and rain - the effects of a hurricane or tornado can be devastating. To protect your windows from breaking, have storm shutters installed or create your own by buying precut sheets of 3/4-inch (2cm) plywood to fit each window.