Year-End Checklist: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Home Safe
You May Feel Snugly Bundled Up, But Is Your Home?
According the to Centers for Disease Control, roughly one half of the injuries that result in 1.9 million hospitalizations and sixty-five million ER and doctor visits every year in the United States happen in the home. Of these sixty-seven million annual injuries, the overwhelming majority were caused by accidental falls in the home.
So, as this winter sets in and the cold keeps us in the most dangerous environment we’re likely to encounter (statistically anyway), it makes sense to look for ways to limit the hazards we’re exposed to in the home. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to improve the safety and security of your home, whether you are home or far away.
Watch for Falling Bodies
The most common accident in the home is a fall, and falls disproportionately affect the elderly and infirm. For these reasons, the CDC puts out a handy booklet on how to prevent falls and other common household accidents by making clear pathways in all rooms, ensuring that carpets are tacked down (especially carpeting on stairs), tucking all cords and cables behind furniture and along walls, illuminating pathways commonly used in low light conditions, and through other methods.
Batten Down the Hatches
Winter brings rough weather, darkness, and cold temperatures to many parts of the country. One or more of these factors can affect an unprepared home in such a way as to make the homeowner choose between doing something unsafe in bad weather (sometimes on a ladder), and letting the weather wreak havoc on their home.
The good folks at Thumbtack have published a seasonal homeowners checklist, to get you ready for every season. For winter, you’ll want to make sure that your exterior water pipes are insulated, your hose bibs are shut off and insulated, your exterior crawl space vents are closed, your snow removal equipment is easily accessible, and your furnace filters are clean and fresh.
Special Checks for Winter Vacations
Not all of us can stay bundled up in our homes all winter long. Many make the trek across the country or globe to see friends and family for the holidays. Many others vacation to warmer climes in the winter, and several more still make the trip to the slopes a part of their winter rotation.
If you plan to leave your home for more than a weekend this winter, it pays to play it safe. Buy a light timer to randomly turn your lights on and off, give a trusted friend or neighbor a key and ask them to check on the place regularly, and if you live in a small enough community, let your neighborhood watch or local police know that you’ll be out of town. For more ideas, check out the Independent Traveler’s list of suggestions on what to do with your home when traveling.
Come Home or Stay Home for Safety
Don’t let your home scare you. Sure, according to the CDC, it can be a dangerous place but armed with the right information and the handy checklists mentioned above, you can give yourself some piece of mind and keep you, your loved ones, and your home safe and secure this holiday season.
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