Home Safety Checklist – The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Gainesville Restoration and Remodeling.
Home Safety Checklist
Most people spend a tremendous amount of time in their homes, whether it’s a house, condo, apartment, or something else entirely. However, most homeowners often forget about the hidden hazards at home that can put everyone living in the property at risk. The statistics are staggering; at least 33 million people are injured at home annually!
The good news is you can maintain a healthier and safer household by conducting routine safety checks. From garage door repair to checking for signs of black mold, it is necessary to stay on top of your home maintenance at all times to prevent safety hazards and costly repairs.
Ensure the safety of everyone in your household by keeping the following home safety checklist in mind:
Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
The importance of having a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector cannot be overstated. According to the National Fire Protection Association, people are 55% less likely to die in home fires if they have a working smoke system.
The US Fire Administration recommends testing the batteries of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. It is also ideal to replace the batteries at least once or twice yearly. Swapping the device every ten years (or earlier if there are problems during testing) is also recommended.
Check your fire extinguishers
While the number of fires has been reduced in half since the 80s, the risk of death during fires has stayed the same. To prevent a blaze from getting out of hand, experts recommend having a fire extinguisher at home. However, it is important to remember that fire extinguishers are only effective when properly maintained.
Check yearly if your fire extinguisher has not expired yet. You need to also check if the safety pin is intact. It is also important to keep the fire extinguisher damage-free and clean. It is also ideal to regularly check if the nozzle is working as it should. Lastly, you need to have your fire extinguisher replaced every 10 to 12 years.
Check for signs of black mold
Black mold is frequently found in your home’s moist and warm areas, like the basement and bathroom. Mold can trigger symptoms like wheezing, fever, itchy eyes, and shortness of breath. Black mold has also been known to contribute to the development of asthma in children.
Make it a point to check for any signs of mold on a routine basis. Here’s how you can go about it:
- Look for mold clusters or spots, particularly in damp places or rooms where you have had water damage or leaks.
- If you find any, put some protective gear on and open the doors and windows. Throw away any moldy items you will find.
- Ensure you also pull out and replace any mold-covered surfaces like ceiling tiles or carpets. Treat the area with bleach.
- Allow everything to dry completely. If a leak causes the mold, make sure it is fixed.
Other basic home safety basics to keep in mind include:
- If built before 1978, your home likely has lead paint. Remodeling projects that disturb lead paint might spread lead dust throughout your home. Check with your state or local health department for low-dust home remodeling tips.
- Make sure your electric heaters are grounded and have a three-prong plug. Instead of using extension cords, it is ideal that they are connected directly to the wall outlets. It is also important to never leave kids unsupervised or alone in a room with a space heater.
- Do not leave toiletries, medicines, and other household products in nightstands, drawers, or anywhere where children can have easy access to them. Also, make sure controlled substances like sedatives and narcotics are in locked containers.
- Have a fully stocked first aid kit that includes gauze, bandages, antiseptic, and medical tape. Keep your first aid kit in a place where you have easy access to it.
- Have your HVAC system cleaned, inspected, and tuned up regularly. This can help ensure the air conditioner and furnace are safe and ready for use when you need them.
- While foundation damage is not common, it can present serious flooding danger. Common signs of foundation damage include cracks and wet spots in floors and walls, particularly over doors or windows where the ceiling and the walls meet.
- To ensure nobody will stumble down dark hallways, add nightlights for safe passage after the lights are turned off. Lights with motion sensors can help ensure your hallways are safe and you won’t waste energy or disturb others.
- Check your light switches and outlets for cracked or missing covers. Make sure the contacts are not exposed in light switches with missing covers. For homes with small children, add childproof outlet covers. This is important, so the little ones are protected as they explore your home.
- Check for cracked or missing shingles and determine if they need to be repaired or replaced. Working with a roofer is also a good idea so they can inspect and identify other issues like dry rot, which can lead to the roof sagging. To prevent any ice dams in winter, ensure there is adequate insulation.
Last but not the least, make sure you have an escape plan in the event of a fire. It is also recommended that you have an escape plan that can address other applicable emergencies you might face. Depending on where you reside, it can be a tornado, flood, or earthquake. Whatever the emergency may be, make sure you have a comprehensive emergency plan. You need to also run regular drills so everyone in the house knows what to do.