June Is Home Safety Month

Every June, the Home Safety Council celebrates Home Safety Month!  HSC is an organization which encourages people to take easy steps toward making their homes safer for themselves, their pets, and their families.  The theme for this year’s Home Safety Month campaign is Hands on Home Safety. As the name suggests, it suggests some simple hands-on steps to create a safer home environment from the five leading causes of home injury: falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking or suffocation, and drowning.  Many household accidents like these can be avoided with some precautionary measures!  Also, some aspects of a home safety are good to have in place anyway when one is trying to sell a house.  If a potential buyer hurts themselves on your property, you may find yourself with a lawsuit instead of a sale!

According to the HSC, falls are the leading cause of injury at home. There are several actions which can be taken to prevent many types of falls.  Ensuring that stairwells and hallways are well-lit is the first place you want to start.  Stairs should have handrails on both sides secured along the full length of the stairway.  Finally, make sure the halls and stairs are unobstructed.  You wouldn’t want a potential home-buyer tripping over a soccer ball in an enclosed space like this.

Make certain that smooth walking surfaces, such as hardwood or stone floors, are dry. When these surfaces are wet, they can be very slick.  Putting rugs at doorways and in the kitchen in front of the sink can help to provide traction in potentially slick walking areas. 

Here is the HSC’s Hands On Home Safety Checklist.  Now, there are other areas of a home which can be susceptible to trips and falls which are important to be aware of when you’re selling your home

The top problem areas for outdoor falls around the home are walking paths, sidewalks, and driveways.  Cracks in the asphalt which result in even a relatively small gap can cause tripping, especially if the crack has resulted in an uneven surface.  You’ve probably tripped over a little crack in pavement yourself at some point.  If you have uneven asphalt at home, you may have tripped on your own property!  You don’t have to rip out and replace the concrete, however, there are mud jacking and sand jacking services which can help you with this. 

The same basic principle applies to landscaped paths which have brickwork or stepping stones.  If you have a brick patio and have noticed that it has become uneven over time, it’s probably a good idea to pull it up and re-level it.  If you put the bricks and stones in yourself, you can probably also fix the trouble yourself.

Also, uneven stairs can cause problems, whether their on stairwells inside the home or steps outside leading to the front door.  Not quite sure what I mean?  Perhaps the bottom stair on the outside porch is only 3 inches tall or the top stair of the basement steps is a much taller than the previous stairs.  If you have an uneven step in your home, you probably have already tripped on it yourself.  If at all possible, it’s probably a good idea to try and fix the problem.  It could prevent an injury or save a life!

Finally, I was driving past a home yesterday and I noticed a chiminea, or outdoor fireplace, on a wooden deck.  It dawned on me that the parts of the home safety guide I read, did not mention this type of situation. I felt I might mention it though!  If you have an outdoor fireplace, chiminea, fire pit, or any other source of open flames outside on your deck or patio, ensure that proper steps have been taken to prevent uncontrolled fires from happening.  Ensure it is kept far enough away from wooden decks, stairs, yard furniture, and other things which are flammable.

You can view the HSC’s full safety guide here.

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