Home Safety Checklist (cont.)

NOTE: If the water heater does not have a temperature setting, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water at the tap.

  • Always check water temperature by hand before entering bath or shower.
  • Taking baths, rather than showers, reduces the risk of a scald from suddenly changing water temperatures.

CHECK LIGHTING

QUESTION: Is a light switch located near the entrance to the bathroom?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATIONS: A light switch near the door will prevent you from walking through a dark area.

  • Install a night light. Inexpensive lights that plug into outlets are available.
  • Consider replacing the existing switch with a "glow switch" that can be seen in the dark.

CHECK SMALL ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

QUESTION: Are small electrical appliances such as hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, etc., unplugged when not in use?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Even an appliance that is not turned on, such as a hairdryer, can be potentially hazardous if it is left plugged in. If it falls into water in a sink or bathtub while plugged in, it could cause a lethal shock.

  • Unplug all small appliances when not in use.
  • Never reach into water to retrieve an appliance that has fallen in without being sure the appliance is unplugged.
  • Install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in your bathroom outlet to protect against electric shock.

CHECK MEDICATIONS

QUESTION: Are all medicines stored in the containers that they came in and are they clearly marked?

YES ___ No ___

RECOMMENDATION: Medications that are not clearly and accurately labeled can be easily mixed up. Taking he wrong medicine or missing a dosage of medicine you need can be dangerous.

  • Be sure that all containers are clearly marked with the contents, doctor's instructions, expiration date, and patient's name.
  • Dispose of outdated medicines properly.
  • Request non-child-resistant closures from your pharmacist only when you cannot use child-resistant closures.

NOTE: Many poisonings occur when children visiting grandparents go through the medicine cabinet or grandmother's purse. In homes where grandchildren or other youngsters are frequent visitors, medicines should be purchased in containers with child-resistant caps, and the caps properly closed after each use. Store medicines beyond the reach of children.

Remember: Check all of the product areas mentioned at the beginning of the checklist.

BEDROOMS

In the bedroom, check all rugs and runners, electrical and telephone cords, and areas around beds.

CHECK AREAS AROUND BEDS

QUESTION: Are lamps or light switches within reach of each bed?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Lamps or switches located close to each bed will enable people getting up at night to see where they are going.

  • Rearrange furniture closer to switches or move lamps closer to beds.
  • Install night lights.

QUESTION: Are ash trays, smoking materials, or other fire sources (heaters, hot plates, teapots, etc.) located away from beds or bedding?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Burns are a leading cause of accidental death among seniors. Smoking in bed is a major contributor to this problem. Among mattress and bedding fire related deaths in a recent year, 42% were to persons 65 or older.

  • Remove sources of heat or flame from areas around beds.
  • Don't smoke in bed.

QUESTION: Is anything covering your electric blanket when in use?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: "Tucking in" electric blankets, or placing additional coverings on top of them can cause excessive heat buildup which can start a fire.

QUESTION: Do you avoid "tucking in" the sides or ends of your electric blanket?

RECOMMENDATION:

  • Use electric blankets according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Don't allow anything on top of the blanket while it is in use. (This includes other blankets or comforters, even pets sleeping on top of the blanket.)
  • Don't set electric blankets so high that they could burn someone who falls asleep while they are on.

QUESTION: Do you ever go to sleep with a heating pad which is turned on?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Never go to sleep with a heating pad if it is turned on because it can cause serious burns even at relatively low settings.

QUESTION: Is there a telephone close to your bed?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: In case of an emergency, it is important to be able to reach the telephone without getting out of bed.

Remember: Check all of the product areas mentioned at the beginning of the checklist.

BASEMENT/GARAGE/WORKSHOP/STORAGE AREAS

In the basement, garage, workshop, and storage areas, check lighting, fuse boxes or circuit breakers, appliances and power tools, electrical cords, and flammable liquids.

CHECK LIGHTING

QUESTION: Are work areas, especially areas where power tools are used, well lit?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Power tools were involved in over 5,200 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms to people 65 and over in 1982. Three fourths of these were finger injuries. Good lighting can reduce the chance that you will accidentally cut your finger.

  • Either install additional light, or avoid working with power tools in the area.

QUESTION: Can you turn on the lights without first having to walk through a dark area?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Basement, garages, and storage areas can contain many tripping hazards and sharp or pointed tools that can make a fall even more hazardous.

Keep an operating flashlight handy.

Have an electrician install switches at each entrance to a dark area.

CHECK THE FUSE BOX OR CIRCUIT BREAKERS

QUESTION: If fuses are used, are they the correct size for the circuit?

YES ___ NO ___

RECOMMENDATION: Replacing a correct size fuse with a larger size fuse can present a serious fire hazard. If the fuse in the box is rater higher than that intended for the circuit, excessive current will be allowed to flow and possibly overload the outlet and house wiring to the point that a fire can begin.

  • Be certain that correct-size fuses are used. (If you do not know the correct sizes, consider having an electrician identify and label the sizes to be used.)

STAY INFORMED

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