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Home Safety Checklist

You might think that “accidents just happen” and that nothing can really be done to prevent them. Not so. By taking some simple measures, you can considerably reduce your chances of being injured at home. It’s a matter of knowing what the potential hazards are, taking precautions and making adjustments. These changes can make a big difference!

 

General Safety:

 

  • Emergency numbers and your address are posted by each telephone.

  • Telephones are located in each room. They can be reached from the floor in case of a fall.

  • Inside and outside door handles and locks are easy to operate.

  • Doors have lever-action handles instead of round knobs.

  • Door thresholds are low and beveled or there are no thresholds.

  • Windows open easily from the inside, but they have a secure locking system that can prevent someone from entering from the outside.

  • The water heater thermostat is set at 120 degrees or lower to prevent accidental scalding.

  • Medications are stored in a safe place according to instructions on the label of the package or container.

  • Carpeting and rugs are not worn or torn.

  • Small, loose rugs have non-skid backing and are not placed in traffic areas of the home.

  • Appliances, lamps, and cords are clean and in good condition.

  • There are no exposed, glaring bulbs in lamps or fixtures.

  • All electrical equipment bears the Underwriters laboratories (UL) label.

  • Outlets are located where they are needed in every room.

  • Electrical overload protection is provided by circuit breakers, fuses, or ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs prevent electrical shock and are particularly important in areas where water is used, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and outside.

  • Electrical service has enough capacity to serve the house and is up to code. (You can call your municipal electrical inspector or a reputable electrical contractor to check the wiring in your house.)

  • Extension cords do not carry more than their proper load as indicated on the cord or appliance.

  • Electrical cords are placed out of the flow of traffic and out from underneath rugs and furniture.

  • Smoke alarms are present in the home and are in working order. One way to help you remember to change the batteries is to replace them on your birthday—don’t forget to mark it on your calendar

 

Kitchen Safety

 

  • The range and sink areas have adequate light levels. If you have a gas range, it is equipped with pilot lights and an automatic cut-off in the event of flame failure. (Your local utility service representative can check this for you.)

  • The range is not where curtains might fall onto a burner. If you have an exhaust hood for the oven, it has easily removable filters for proper cleaning. Clean filters as needed.

  • The kitchen exhaust system is internally vented, discharges directly outside, or discharges through ducts to the outside and not into the attic or other unused space.

  • Countertop space lets you keep carrying and lifting to a minimum.

  • Kitchen wall cabinets are not too high to be easily reached.

  • Lighting of counter tops is enough for meal preparation.

  • Light switches are located near the doors.

  • Shiny or glaring work surfaces are not used.

  • Oven controls are clearly marked and easily grasped.

  • Oven controls are located on the front or side of the oven, so that you don’t have to reach over the burners.

  • A single-lever mixing faucet is used. This type of faucet controls both the hot and cold water flow with a single control.

  • Flooring is not slippery and has a non-glare surface.

  • When cooking, pan handles are turned away from other burners and the edge of the range.

  • When cooking, you do not wear garments with long, loose sleeves.

  • Hot pads and pan holders are kept near the range. If you have a microwave, it is operated only when there is food in it.

  • Small appliances are unplugged when not in use. Knives are kept in a knife rack or drawer.

  • Countertops and work areas are cleared of all unnecessary objects.

  • Drawers and cupboards are kept closed.

  • A sturdy, stable stepladder or step stool is used rather than a chair to reach objects in overhead cabinets.

  • Grease or liquid spills are wiped up at once.

 

Stairways & Halls

 

  • Steps are in good condition and are free of objects.

  • Steps have non-skid strips. Carpeting on steps is securely fastened and free of fraying or holes.

  • Smoke detectors are in place in hallways and near sleeping areas.

  • Hallways are equipped with night-lights.

  • Sturdy handrails are on both sides of stairway and are securely fastened.

  • Light switches are located at the top and bottom of stairways and at both ends of long hallways.

  • Inside doors do not swing out over stair steps.

  • There is enough space in the stairway to avoid bumping your head.

  • Room entrances do not have raised door thresholds.

  • It is easy to see the leading edge or nosing of each stair tread while walking down stairs.

  • Stairways and hallways are well lighted.

 

Living Room:

 

  • Electrical cords are placed along walls (not under rugs) and away from traffic areas.

  • Chairs and sofas are sturdy and secure.

  • Chairs and sofas are not too low or too deep to get in and out of easily.

  • Chairs and sofas have full arms to aid in sitting or rising.

  • The light switch is located near the entrance.

  • There is enough space to walk through the room leaving clear passageways for traffic.

  • Furniture, which might be used for support when walking or rising, is steady and does not tilt.

 

Bathroom:

 

  • The bathtub or shower has a non-skid mat or strips on the standing area.

  • Bathtub or shower doors are safety glass or plastic.

  • Grab bars are installed on the walls by the bathtub and toilet.

  • The towel bars and the soap dish in the shower stall are durable and are firmly installed.

  • A single-lever mixing faucet is used, or you have faucet handles that are easy to grasp.

  • Bathroom flooring is matte-finished, textured tile, or low pile commercial carpet (no throw rugs or bathmats).

  • Bathroom has even lighting without glare. The light switch is near the door.

  • The bathroom door opens outward.

  • The bathroom has a safe supplemental heat source and ventilation system.

  • The outlets are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that protect against electric shock.

 

Bedroom:

 

  • A lamp or flashlight is kept within reach of your bed. Check batteries periodically to make sure they are working, and keep a spare package of batteries nearby.

  • A night-light is used to brighten the way to the bathroom at night.

  • Plenty of room is left for you to walk around the bed.

  • You have an adequate-sized nightstand or small table for the telephone, glasses, or other important items.

  • There is a sturdy chair with arms where you can sit to dress.

  • You have wall-to-wall low pile carpeting or a smooth surface floor.

  • Your bedroom is located on the first floor of the home.

  • A telephone jack is installed in the room.

 

Outdoor Areas:

 

  • Steps and walkways are in good condition.

  • Handrails are sturdy and securely fastened.

  • Doorways, steps, porches, and walkways have good lighting.

  • Porches, balconies, terraces, window wells, and other heights or depressions are protected by railings, closed with banisters, closed with fences, closed with accordion gates, or are otherwise protected.

  • Hedges, trees, or shrubs do not hide the view of the street.

  • Garage doors are easy for you to operate, even when snow is piled against them.

  • The garage is adequately ventilated.

 

Fire Safety:

 

  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.

  • Do not smoke cigarettes if you are drowsy; have taken pain medication, or resting in bed.

  • Do not smoke if you are on oxygen therapy, stay away from open flames.

  • Plan fire escape paths from all rooms and have a designated meeting place outside.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher (in good working order) in the kitchen and any other area where inflammable materials are stored.

  • Keep blankets, clothing, curtains, furniture and anything that could get hot and catch fire away from portable heaters.

  • Plug heaters directly into the wall socket and unplug them when they are not in use.

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home and test them each month.

  • If a fire occurs, have everyone leave the home, then call 911.

  • Plan and practice fire escape routes and make sure everyone knows two ways out of the building.

  • If a fire occurs, crawl low, under the smoke. Feel closed doors with the back of your hand. If hot, use another exit. If not hot, open the door slowly and check for smoke/fire.

 

Medications:

 

  • Never share or borrow medicine.

  • Take your medicine as instructed/prescribed.

  • Be careful not to confuse medicines, as they may look similar in nature.

  • Have your pharmacist or nurse label your medicines with large print.

  • If you miss a dose contact your physician, nurse or pharmacist.

  • Do not suddenly stop taking medicine without consulting your physician.

  • Do not save or take old medicines as they may lose their strength and effectiveness.

  • Keep a list of your medicines with you at all times.

  • If you are allergic to any medication or food, consider a medical alert tag/card.

  • Consider using a pillbox if you forget to take your medicines.

  • Keep medicines in a safe, dry place, out of reach of children and away from direct sunlight.

  • Over-the-counter or non-prescription medicines can affect the effectiveness of prescription drugs and/or cause harmful side-effects. Always notify your primary care physician and caregivers of such use.

  • Always wash your hands before and after touching medications, supplies, dressings, the IV site or food.

  • Dispose of needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects properly. Place in hard plastic or metal container and secure lid tightly.  Do Not Recycle Medical Waste.

 

Infection Control:

 

  • Frequently wash hands vigorously with soap (20 seconds), followed by paper towel drying.

  • Always wash your hands before and after touching medications, supplies, and dressings.

  • Always wash hands before and after handling or preparing food.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

  • Do not use other people’s personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, razor, or towels.

  • Wear gloves if you may come in contact with blood or body fluids. Wash hands again after removing gloves.

  • Check IV bags and sterile packages for moisture, cloudiness, cracks, rips or other damage. Don’t use if present.

  • Prepare and store food properly.

  • Dispose of needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects properly. Place in hard plastic or metal container and secure lid tightly.  Do Not Recycle Medical Waste.

  • Discard all soiled and used dressings; IV bags and tubing, gloves and other disposable items in a plastic bag and tie it securely. Discard in household trash.

  • Maintain good housekeeping to minimize the spread of bacteria by household pests.

  • Report signs and symptoms of infection to your physician. Signs and symptoms may include: fever, chills, redness, tenderness, drainage, unexplained weakness or fatigue, nausea, pain, vomiting or diarrhea.