Your home is your castle, a refuge from the cares and concerns of the outside world for you and your family. But while you're enjoying the comforts your home has to offer, security risks and potential hazards that could cause accidents in your home may be overlooked. To help maintain a safe and secure home environment for your family members and guests, here are 10 simple actions you can take:
- Test your smoke alarms on a regular basis to make sure they're working properly. Invest in replacing older models and make sure batteries are up to date. You may also want to prepare an emergency fire escape plan and periodically practice the steps to make sure family members know the drill.
- Assess the interior of your home for possible risks that could cause someone to trip, slip, and fall. Inspect each room and hallway to ensure that floors and stairs are free of clutter, toys, and other objects. Remove any loose rugs and wires, and brighten poorly lit staircases and foyers. Install night lights that turn on automatically after dark. Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-adhesive strips on your bathroom tub or shower floors. Always keep the exterior of your home well lit at night, particularly during fall and winter months with fewer hours of daylight. The lighting outside your home should be bright enough to sufficiently illuminate your driveway, stairs, and walkways.
- Clear your walkways of snow. Remember to also sand and de-ice walkways to help prevent slipping, falling, and associated injuries. When removing snow, avoid piling it up and blocking pathways for walking.
- Check your locks and deadbolts on all doors and windows for any malfunctions. Leave at least one light and your radio or TV on while you're out for an extended period of time. If you have a burglar alarm system, choose a different combination than what you use for your other passwords. Be aware of the rhythms of your neighborhood, and note any odd occurrences or unfamiliar people frequenting the area. Be sure to teach your children not to speak or engage with strangers.
- Protect your privacy. Do not disclose your family's routine or vacation times, especially online at social media sites. Only share personal information, such as work or school schedules, with relatives or a few trusted friends and associates.
- Put durable socket covers on all electrical outlets in your house to prevent electrical burn or shock. In addition, keep sharp metal objects, such as knives and scissors, out of your children's reach. Make sure that younger children are not left alone when electric appliances are switched on. When old enough, teach your children to turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Also, stress the importance of keeping electric appliances away from water, and never touching electrical appliances with wet hands or when near water.
- Don't leave your children or pets alone in a room with a burning candle. Place candles in safe locations away from combustible items, such as papers, curtains, and rugs, where children or pets can't accidentally tip them over. Keep matches and lighters out of your children's reach at all times.
- Take extra precautions when having repairs or maintenance work done inside or outside your home. In this situation, the natural order of your home and its contents can be disrupted. For example, doors and windows can be left unlocked, electrical appliances may not get turned off, cords and wires could cause someone to trip and fall, or pets could slip out the crack of an open door.
For security reasons and to help prevent accidents or injuries, make sure someone is at home for the duration of the repair or maintenance work. Ask a neighbor or friend to stay if you need to leave before the work is completed. If an accident should occur, seek medical attention immediately.
- Leave home appliance and yard equipment repairs to the professionals. Attempting to fix major home appliances or sharp-ended yard tools, such as hedge trimmers, on your own increases your risk of sustaining an accident or injury.
- Drive slowly and cautiously when entering or backing out of your driveway or garage. Always look out for children and pets that may be difficult to detect under or around your vehicle.
By taking these simple precautions and safety measures, you can help prevent accidents from occurring inside and outside your home. In addition, practicing consistent safety behaviors will allow you and your family to continue to enjoy the comfort and tranquility of a secure home environment.
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