Home Safety Checklist for Home Owners and Home Buyers

The home is a place where people often feel that they are the safest. Unfortunately, there are numerous hazards that can make it less than safe for home owners and home buyers. Potential home safety hazards may lurk in nearly every room and area of the home in the form of everything from furniture to paint to electrical appliances. People can, however, change this by taking steps to find, eliminate or reduce the threat of these home hazards. Home safety checklists are a great way to cover all of your home safety basics. By creating a list of what to look for and how to make the right changes, a person can create the secure and safe home that their family deserves.

  • Check for Unsafe Wiring Conditions

Check for unsafe wiring conditions in your home by first turning on and off all light switches. If light switches do not work properly this may indicate a problem with the house wiring. Feel wall outlets and plug-in items. If the outlet feels warm or if it does not work it may also indicate a wiring issue that must be addressed by a licensed professional.

  • Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no odor, taste, or color. Ensure the safety of everyone in the home by placing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, nearest to bedrooms. Avoid placing them near windows, doors, garages, or near the fireplace or stove.

  • Make Bathtubs Non-slip

Prevent accidental injury in the bathtub by making the tubs surface resistant to slips. Apply adhesive safety strips to the bottom of the tub or use a non-slip mat.

  • Make House Numbers Visible From the Street

House numbers should be visible from the street so that emergency responders can easily identify the home. Make numbers so that they contrast with the background, are five to six inches tall, and preferably reflective.

  • Have Homes Tested for Lead Based Paint

Homes built before 1978 were painted with lead based paints. Lead is a health hazard, particularly in homes with small children. Have paint tested by a qualified professional. Remove any lead paint entirely and repaint if lead is present.

  • Check That Stairs Have Proper Lighting

Ensure that stairs are well-lit at night by using night lights. Light switches should also be placed at the top and the bottom of the staircase. The home safety checklist below has great information.

  • Add Additional Security to Windows

Place a wooden dowel in the window track to prevent the window from being opened beyond a certain point. Leave a space of three inches between the dowel and the sliding portion of the window so that it can be opened slightly to let in air.

  • Fence the Swimming Pool

Install an isolation fence around the pool. Use a fence that has four sides and that stands forty-eight inches tall. Slats in the fence should be four inches or less.

Keep guns and other firearms securely locked up and away from children. Keep bullets locked up in a separate location from the guns.

  • Secure Chemicals

Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children. Store them in cabinets that are too high for a child’s reach or lock them in a secure cabinet. Household poisons are a serious safety concern.

  • Clean Chimneys Annually

Have chimneys cleaned and inspected once a year by a trained professional. If the fireplace is used frequently the chimney should be cleaned more than once a year.

  • Properly Store Lighters and Matches

Keep matches and lighters in a location that is out of the reach of children. Preferably this is a locked cabinet. Teach children that lighters and matches are not toys.

  • Put childproof locks on cabinets

Keep children out of cabinets that store potentially deadly chemicals or other hazardous items. Locks should be magnetic or have a metal spring mechanism. Magnetic locks require the use of a magnetic key to open.

  • Avoid overloading power strips

An overloaded power strip can cause a fire. To test if a strip or even an outlet is overloaded touch it. It is overloaded if the extension cord or the socket feels hot to the touch.

  • Have fire extinguishers on hand

Place a fire extinguisher on every level of the home. Fire extinguishers for the home should be ABC rated.

  • Replace extinguishers when needed.

Whenever a fire extinguisher needs recharging it should be replaced. Also replace it if is damaged in any way. Home fire safety is important; make sure you educate your family about fire prevention!

  • Have Emergency Phone Numbers Available

Create a phone list of emergency numbers and keep it in a highly visible location. The list should include: 911, the Poison Control Center hotline, the phone number for family members, the fire department, police department, relatives, a trust worthy friend or neighbor.

  • Install and maintain smoke detectors

Install smoke detectors on every floor of the home, near bedrooms. Test once a month by holding a candle six-inches beneath the alarm. Replace the battery annually or if the low-power warning goes off.

  • Create a Fire Escape Plan

Create a fire escape plan for the home that has two potential escape routes from every room. Give everyone in the home a copy and practice the plan twice a year.

  • Add a Deadbolt to Exterior Doors

Deadbolt locks are a secure way to keep people from entering the home. Panic-proof deadbolts ensure that the door is easily opened from the inside in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.

  • Adjust the Hot Water Heaters.

Set the thermostat on hot water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Lowering the thermostat temperature helps to prevent hot water burns on children.

  • Safely Store Medications

Keep all forms of medication locked away in a cabinet to prevent accidental poisoning. Medications should never be left on the counter – lock them away immediately after use.

  • Secure Window Blind Cords

Eliminate the risk of children strangling from blind cords by using safety tassels on mini blinds. To use tassels cut the blind cords and attach the tassels. Tension devices can also help reduce the chances of strangulation on vertical blinds and drapes.

  • Block the Stairs

When children learn to crawl and then walk, stairs become a safety hazard. Place a security gate at the bottom of the stairs to prevent children from climbing up them and potentially falling.

  • Portable Heater Safety

Keep space heaters away from items that can catch fire. They should be at least three feet from bedding, rugs, curtains, and other potentially flammable items

  • Fasten Cords and Wires to the Wall

Prevent tripping injuries by fastening long cords and wires to the wall. This can be done with tape.

  • Keep Walkways Clear

Remove toys, shoes, or any item that may cause a person to trip and fall when walking. Ensure that everyone in the family knows the proper place to store items and that they get into the habit of picking up after themselves.

  • Verify that items are UL Tested

To ensure that items are genuinely UL certified and tested look over the UL mark. There should be four elements that are present: the UL trademark, the capitalized word “LISTED,” the identity of the product, and either a control or an issue number.

  • Secure Rugs

Rugs can cause a person to slip and fall. To reduce this risk, install double back tape to the underside of any throw rugs in the home. Foam backing or a rubber pad may also help.

  • Secure Bookshelves

Bookshelves and other heavy items such as televisions run the risk of being pulled over or falling. Reduce this hazard by securing the items to the wall.

  • Check for Frayed Wires

It’s important to check your electrical devices for frayed, damaged or loose wires. If you find a damaged unit, this should be repaired immediately. Make a home safety checklist that includes what rooms of the house you’ve checked for frayed wires.

Sharp edges to end tables and other furniture pose to children who may fall and hit their head. Cover sharp edges with soft padding or corner guards.

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