18 Ways to Reduce Risks at Home
Is your home as safe as it can be or can you do more to boost your safety and reduce risks? Whether you want to protect your home from burglars or are simply looking for easy ways to prevent slips, we’ve got some great ideas that help you add a layer of protection around your home. Consider giving one or all of them a try, because your safety matters.
Security system. When you think of protecting your home, one of your first thoughts is probably guarding it from intruders. Getting a security system is first-line defense and today’s technology makes it easier to afford with more available options than ever before.
Upgrade your locks. If you are renting or if a security system is out of your budget, consider upgrading door locks to something more secure, like a deadbolt. This way you get added protection at a fraction of the cost — and a huge boost in peace of mind.
Fireplace safety. Whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, there are steps you can take to make sure your hearth is in great shape. A thorough inspection by a professional will get you started on the right path. They can help you learn what routine maintenance is needed to keep your particular fireplace in tip-top condition.
Do a fire-prevention walkthrough. Look over your home from top to bottom to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent house fires. Make sure your kitchen has a Class B rated fire extinguisher and don’t forget to have one in the basement and garage. During your walk through, check to see if all flammable liquids are stored as recommended by the manufacturer. Take these extra steps and instantly feel safer in your home.
Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. How many detectors do you need? What rooms should have them? There should be one in each sleeping space, but not all older homes have them in place. Make sure your home is up-to-date and that your smoke detectors are in working order.
Emergency evacuation plan. Creating a fire escape plan is a great start but you can take it even further by thinking of all of the reasons you’d want to evacuate and establishing a family reaction plan. Then, practice your plans regularly so they become second nature to everyone.
Electrical safety. Check your electrical appliances and retire products with frayed, damaged or visibly worn cords. Make sure your sockets aren’t overloaded and always turn off the electric current at the fuse box before trying to do any electrical DIY.
Household mold. Keep an eye out for household mold and prepare to tackle it if you see it. You can remove household mold on your own and it’s easier if you catch it early. The standard DIY recipe for removing mold safely is one cup of bleach mixed with one gallon of water. Just don’t forget to protect your eyes, lungs and skin while cleaning.
Keep your sump pump in tip-top condition. Your sump pump performs a vital function in your home, but it needs a little attention and some sump pump maintenance to keep it in its best working condition. Make sure to check the line a couple times a year to make sure water is running freely through the pipes. If you find any debris, clean it out to prevent back-ups. The float in your sump pump works just like the one in your toilet and typically lasts a long time, but it’s worth giving the float and the its switch a once-over every year.
Prevent frozen pipes. When the big chill settles in, keep your pipes protected! Look for exposed pipes in crawlspaces, outside and in the attic. Cover them with an insulated sleeve to keep them warm. Disconnect garden hoses and turn off water to outside spigots. During very cold weather, open lower cupboard doors to allow warm air to filter through. These steps help protect your pipes and stay ahead of Mother Nature.
Childproof your home. When you’re expecting a baby, you’re laser focused on babyproofing the house. Once baby comes home and starts to grow, your kid-proofing needs to grow with them. Make sure you keep toxic cleaning supplies and medications hidden, set parental guidelines on the internet and television, anchor large furniture to the wall, supervise first attempts in the kitchen, keep your water temperature set below 120 degrees and add no-slip traction on the backs of rugs. Let your security measures grow and change with your family.
Prevent falls. Childproofing your home means preparing for falls from little ones and trying to lessen them by covering sharp edges and putting up stair barricades. On the other end of the spectrum, falls are particularly dangerous as we age, which is why working to prevent them is so important. Eliminate clutter around the house and make walkways clear and wide. Secure handrails on stairs and add them to the bathroom and shower, where slips are more likely. Secure all rugs with non-skid backs or remove the throw rugs entirely.
Pet safety. Your furry, feathered and fishy family members mean a lot to you, which is why they deserve safety too. You probably know that chocolate is bad for your pup, but did you know that onions or garlic can be deadly to your cats? Learn what foods are harmful to your pets and then take extra steps to protect them. Similarly, toxic house products and even some plants should be kept out of their reach.
Another thing to consider when thinking about your pets are your guests. Are your pets better off being kept away from inquisitive and pokey toddlers? Or, are your guests safer if your territorial cat spends the evening in a back room?
Thoughtful landscaping. Did you know landscaping can help with home security? Do you have bushes that could be a perfect hiding spot? Is your lawn neglected and an obvious sign that you’re away? Let your landscaping shine and give your house curb appeal, without inviting criminals, by trimming back shrubs and staying on top of lawn care. And don’t forget about lights. Outdoor lighting can really give your home delightful charm while draping it in bright security.
Garden safety. You’ve taken steps to be safe inside, but you also want the same protection outside your home. Start by only using tools that are in good shape when working in the yard or gardening. And always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using tools. Think about the task you have in mind and plan ahead with the appropriate protective clothing. If you use fertilizers and insecticides, use them only as directed. Keeping them in their original containers is a great way to keep those instructions nearby.
Secure your wired home. If you’ve embraced smart home technology, the safest move is to embrace smart security at home, too. So many things in a smart home are connected to your Wi-Fi, which makes securing your connection more important than ever. Additional firewall protection on your router adds another security layer over this vital piece of equipment. Take it a step further, invest in a unified threat management system for secure connections.
Frontpoint security system. Roll several precautions together with Frontpoint. In just one system you get one handy control panel, two window/door sensors, two motion sensors, one smoke/heat sensor and two water leak sensors. And if that wasn’t enough, you may qualify for homeowners insurance discounts. This is a real win/win situation for people concerned about home safety.
Insurance check-up. Your American Family Insurance agent will help you make sure you have all the protection you need. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s a great idea to review your insurance policy every year or two to make sure you’ve got coverage for all that matters to you.
Every home is different and yours may require some special considerations. Brainstorm with your family to come up with unique ways you can work together to create the safest home that fits your situation.