Home Safety Checklist

Each year, many adults and children are injured in and around their homes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has estimated that annually nearly 3/4 million people over age 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with products they live with and use everyday!

CPSC believes that many of these injuries result from hazards that are easy to overlook, but also easy to fix. By spotting these hazards and taking some simple steps to correct them, many injuries might be prevented.

Use this checklist to spot possible safety problems which may be present in your home. Check YES or NO to answer each question. Then go back over the list and take action to correct those items which may need attention.

Keep this checklist as a reminder of safe practices, and use it periodically to re-check your home.

This checklist is organized by areas in the home. However, there are some potential hazards that need to be checked in more than just one area of your home.

These are highlighted at the beginning of the checklist and short reminders are included in each other section of the checklist.

ALL AREAS OF THE HOME

In all areas of your home, check all electrical and telephone cords; rugs, runners and mats; telephone areas; smoke detectors; electrical outlets and switches; light bulbs; space heaters; woodburning stoves; and your emergency exit plan.

CHECK ALL CORDS

QUESTION: Are lamp, extension, and telephone cords placed out of the flow of traffic?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Cords stretched across walkways may cause someone to trip.

  • Arrange furniture so that outlets are available for lamps and appliances without the use of extension cords.
  • If you must use an extension cord, place it on the floor against a wall where people can not trip over it.
  • Move the phone so that telephone cords will not lie where people walk.

QUESTION: Are cords out from beneath furniture and rugs or carpeting?

YES ___ No ___

RECOMMENDATION: Furniture resting on cords can damage them, creating fire and shock hazards. Electric cords which run under carpeting may cause a fire.

  • Remove cords from under furniture or carpeting.
  • Replace damaged or frayed cords.

QUESTION: Are cords attached to the walls, baseboards, etc., with nails or staples?

YES ___ NO ___

Nails or staples can damage cords, presenting fire and shock hazards.

  • Remove nails, staples, etc.
  • Check wiring for damage.
  • Use tape to attach cords to walls or floors.

QUESTION: Are electrical cords in good condition, not frayed or cracked?

YES ___ NO ___

Damaged cords may cause a shock or fire.

  • Replace frayed or cracked cords.

QUESTION: Do extension cords carry more than their proper load, as indicated by the ratings labeled on the cord and the appliance?

YES ___ NO ___

Overloaded extension cords may cause fires. Standard 18 gauge extension cords can carry 1250 watts.

  • If the rating on the cord is exceeded because of the power requirements of one or more appliances being used on the cord, change the cord to a higher rated one or unplug some appliances.
  • If an extension cord is needed, use one having a sufficient amp or wattage rating.

CHECK ALL RUGS, RUNNERS AND MATS

QUESTION: Are all small rugs and runners slip-resistant?

YES ___ No ___

Many people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that resulted from tripping over rugs and runners. Falls are also the most common cause of fatal injury for older people.

  • Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide.
  • Apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of rugs and runners.
  • Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backing.
  • Check rugs and mats periodically to see if backing needs to be replaced.
  • Place rubber matting under rugs. (Rubber matting that can be cut to size is available.)
  • Purchase new rugs with slip-resistant backing.

NOTE: Over time, adhesive on tape can wear away. Rugs with slip- resistant backing also become less effective as they are washed. Periodically, check rugs and mats to see if new tape or backing is needed.

QUESTION: Are emergency numbers posted on or near the telephone?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: In case of emergency, telephone numbers for the Police, Fire Department, and local Poison Control Center, along with a neighbor's number, should be readily available.

  • Write the numbers in large print and tape them to the phone, or place them near the phone where they can be seen easily.

QUESTION: Do you have access to a telephone if you fall (or experience some other emergency which prevents you from standing and reaching a wall phone)?

YES ___ NO ___

Have at least one telephone located where it would be accessible in the event of an accident which leaves you unable to stand.


STAY INFORMED

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