New Year New You: Safeguarding Your Home

The following posts are from our January 2014 series “New Year, a New You.”  One article will be posted each day in January to discuss building a better you.  Article topics will vary every day.  We will present various ways to improve your life physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally. Click here to view previous posts.

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By: Bill Ballentine

As we leave behind the year of 2013 and we start into 2014, here are some tips to help make your home a safer place for you, your family and your visitors.

According one source, twenty-one million Americans are seriously injured in their homes each year. Another 20,000 die each year from accidents in the home. Falls are considered the number one cause of deaths and injuries in the home.

Therefore, what can you do to make your home a safe place? You will be surprised as how a few simple things can make a world of difference.

Let’s start with the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When was the last time you changed the batteries? They need to be changed at least once a year; the alarm itself should be replaced every ten years.

You should not have electrical cords running across where people are walking. This can cause a tripping hazard. Keep stairways clear of clutter and make sure they are not slippery. Of course, always caution others to not run up and down the stairs.

Always have adequate lighting around stairs and walk ways. Indoor night-lights and outside accent lighting will make it safer, but it will give you a peace of mind as well.


Did you know that even an open windows can be a hazard? Don’t be fooled into thinking that the screen is strong enough to hold your child in if he or she leans against it. Many children have fallen out of second story windows because of this being overlooked.

When cooking, always turn the handles away from the edge of the stove. Children will grab them and dump the hot contents on themselves. You may accidentally walk by one and knock it off spilling the same hot food onto your leg or foot.

You should make sure your bathroom floors and the shower or bathtub floors are slip proof.

Keep all of your medications, prescriptions and over the counter medicines out of the reach of children. They should also be stored in their original container and destroyed after the expiration date has expired.

electrical overload Keep your wall sockets plugged so that a child cannot insert something into it and become electrocuted. Make sure your appliance or other plugins are not worn and ready to short out and start a fire.

Always use the correct fuse or circuit breaker in your electric box to avoid a possible electrical fire. You should have at least one fire extinguisher readily available to be used in case of a fire. You also need to know how to use it.

If you have a pet, you should pay attention to how the pet is acting. When I was a child we had a pet dog and we had a floor furnace to heat our home. The dog kept leaving the living room and then coming back into the room where we were. Sometimes whining when he came back into the room. We got up and went into the hallway and the furnace had over heated and was cherry red. It would have just been a matter of time before it would have started a fire.

These are just a few things to help make 2014 a safe year around your home. I am sure you have some good ideas, so please share them with our readers in the comment section below. You just may save a life this year.

Please contact me through my email address if you should have any suggestions for a story or an article.

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I am a former member of the Society of Professional Journalist.

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