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Home Safety Tips

Helpful Homeowner Tips


Outside Lighting

  • For safety it is recommended that you have sufficient exterior lighting, especially along porches and walkways leading to your home, as well as on driveways and garages. Standard lights and motion detectors may be purchased at most hardware stores. Wall-switch size timers are also available that can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Safety Appliances

Smoke Alarms

Home Smoke Alarm
  • Smoke alarms should be positioned throughout the home. Particularly in bedrooms, and hallways directly outside of bed- rooms. Smoke detectors should be placed on each level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should not be placed in corners or in the kitchen heat in the kitchen may cause recurring false alarms. Refer to the manufacturers installation instructions for proper locations.
  • Batteries should be tested monthly to make sure they are working. If the smoke detectors in your home are hardwired, it is recommended that each have a battery backup.
  • If there are no smoke detectors in the home they may be purchased at any area hardware store.
  • There are also smoke detectors available for the hearing impaired. These are equipped with strobe lights to signal the presence of smoke/fire.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Carbon monoxide detectors are recommended for safety in homes with fossil fuel appliances. These can include natural gas furnaces, natural gas water heaters, wood burning stoves, fireplace inserts or fuel oil furnaces. Carbon monoxide detectors may be purchased at most hardware and department stores.

Interior Rooms & Appliances


  • Medications, cleaning products and other poisons should be kept out of the reach of children.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) should be installed on all outlets within 6 feet from bathtub, shower or sink in all bathrooms, laundry rooms, as well as in the kitchen.


  • All portable and small appliances and their cords should be kept out of the reach of children and at a safe distance from the sink.
  • All portable and countertop appliances should be kept unplugged when not in use.
  • Do not try to repair or use a damaged appliance; either buy a new appliance or consult a licensed, qualified technician to make repairs as necessary.
  • Have working, and fully charged UL Listed fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, and other suitable locations.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) should be installed on all outlets within 6 feet from bathtub, shower or sink in the kitchen as well as in all bathrooms.

Nursery / Bedrooms

  • Have UL Listed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms installed outside all sleeping areas and near fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas furnaces, natural gas water heaters, wood burning stoves, fireplace inserts or fuel oil furnaces.
  • If you have halogen torchier lamps, keep them in locations where they cannot be tipped over by pets, wind, or children. Keep curtains or other combustible materials far away from torchier lamps at all times.
  • Be aware of any strangulation hazards and take precautions as needed. To help prevent your infant from becoming trapped between the crib frame and mattress, choose a firm mattress that fits the crib frame snugly and securely. Also, make sure the mattress support does not easily pull away from the corner posts. Use a tape measure to look for any additional areas where an infant can become trapped. There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats, corner posts should not extend more than 1/16 of an inch above the end panels (unless the corner posts extend at least 16 inches high for a canopy), and headboards and footboards should not contain cutout areas.

Living Areas

  • Use plastic outlet plug covers to stop children from inserting objects into outlets.
  • Make sure that all light fixtures have light bulbs of equal or lesser wattage than what is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not use extension cords if they have sustained any damage. Keep extension cords unplugged when not in use. DO NOT run extension cords under carpeting or through doorway areas.


  • If your home is equipped with a fireplace, it is recommended to have the chimney serviced on a regular basis.


  • Many clothes dryers vent to the exterior through the roof. These vents are prone to clogging, and regular cleaning is recommended. Call a licensed, qualified dryer repair representative to make sure the vent pipe is not clogged.


  • Have working, UL Listed smoke detectors and fully charged UL Listed fire extinguishers in garage
  • Test overhead door safety reverse mechanism and/or sensors monthly.

Dangers & Substances

Mold & Mildew

  • Molds and mildew can grow in damp, dark places. Molds and mildew have been known to cause lung problems; posing particular danger for people who have allergies or asthma. One way you can prevent the growth of these substances in your home is by controlling humidity.
  • Control moisture. Installing a humidistat is recommended if you will be away for the summer months.
  • Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom. If exhaust fans are not installed in your kitchen and/or bathroom, the installation of these is recommended.
  • Fix plumbing leaks before mold grows. If you suspect the presence of plumbing leaks, have a licensed, qualified plumber make further evaluations and repairs to the situation to prevent worsened conditions.
  • Bark contains millions of mold spores so do not store firewood inside your home.


  • Unwanted chemicals can enter the air in your home when you paint, use cleaning products, install pressed wood, install new carpets and use new fabrics. These chemicals can irritate your eyes, throat, and nose. High levels can give you a headache or make you feel dizzy.
  • Keep fresh air moving through your home, especially if you are or have recently performed one of the above tasks that increase the level of chemicals in your home.
  • Read the label. Some chemicals should only be used in well-vented spaces. The label may tell you if the chemicals can cause cancer or other health problems. Use the safest, most efficient products with the fewest warnings.


  • Asbestos can be used in certain types of heating insulation, pipe wrap, floor tiles, slate siding and shingles, and ceiling tiles. When damaged, Asbestos is harmful and fibers enter the air. Breathing air containing asbestos fibers can increase your risk of lung cancer over several years.
  • If you think you may have asbestos in your home, contact a certified asbestos inspector or your local public health department to find out what actions are needed.
  • Don’t try to remove asbestos by yourself. Only trained professionals should do this work.

Carbon Monoxide

  • You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. For info on how to protect your family, click the following link:


  • Asthma causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. This is an increasing danger and in most areas, thousands of children are hospitalized yearly with asthma. Pets, molds, pollen, and cockroaches can trigger asthma. Smoke, chemicals, ozone, and exhaust fumes can also trigger asthma.
If a person with asthma is allergic to cats or dogs, the pet may need to be removed from the home. At least keep pets out of the person’s bedroom.
  • Consider adding a high efficiency air filter to your heating system.
  • Control humidity. Keep the humidity below 65% and fix moisture problems. This will reduce dust mites, molds and mildew.
  • Reduce air pollutants like smoke, solvents, and pollen in your home.
  • Get rid of cockroaches by carefully cleaning (especially in the kitchen) and removing trash every day. Use pesticides as a last resort.
  • Damp mop, damp dust, and vacuum often. Use mattress and pillow covers. Remove carpets, drapes, books, stuffed animals, and feather or down pillows and covers from the bedroom. Wash bedding once a week using hot water to kill dust mites.

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