Many accidents in the home can be prevented with a little effort put towards prevention. These general home safety tips are applicable to many areas of the home and can go a long way towards fall prevention and other safety issues that can lead to more serious accidents.
As a note, many utility companies, local agencies and service companies offer free or moderately priced home safety audits. Do some research in your community for organizations that perform these and schedule an appointment to have one done in your home.
Flooring, Stairways and Halls
- Carpet is well-kept and not worn, and throw rugs have been discarded.
- Steps are in good condition and are free of objects.
- Steps have non-skid strips, visual indicators and proper lighting.
- Carpeting is not pulling up and is free from obstructive wear.
- Handrails are properly sized to hold appropriate weight, are securely installed and placed on both sides of the stairway.
Electrical and wiring
- Electrical appliances, lighting, electric cords, etc. are all in good condition.
- Bulbs are not exposed or easily touched in lamps and light fixtures.
- Electric outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and outside the house are GFCI to prevent shocks.
- Electrical system has appropriate capacity, has been inspected and is up-to-code.
- Extension cords are used properly, are not overloaded, are kept out of walking paths and are not under rugs or near furniture.
- Cords are not attached to the walls, baseboards, etc., with nails or staples.
Electrical cords are not under flooring and are out of the walking path.
- Smoke alarms are functional and tested regularly.
- Smoke alarms have visual alarms (strobes) or enhanced audio alarms for those hard of hearing.
- At least one smoke detector should be placed on every floor of your home.
- Every phone in the house has emergency addresses and phone numbers posted next to it. A phone is in every room and can be reached from the floor.
- Anti-scalding valves have been installed and/or water heaters set to 120 degrees or below to prevent accidental burning.
- Lighting is appropriate in each room for the tasks performed there.
- Hallways and other areas trafficked at night have night lights.
- Light switches are placed at both ends of stairways and hallways.
Doors and windows
- Inside doors do not open over steps.
- Inside doors do not have raised thresholds.
- Furniture does not crowd walkways or obstruct movement in rooms.
- Furniture is not wearing to cause a safety hazard.
- Seating is the proper height for comfort and safety.
- Seating is easy to get out of and sturdy enough to bear the weight of occupants.