Most of us feel safe when we’re at home, but whether you consciously realize it or not, your home is vulnerable to a wide range of different risks.
If you want to keep your family safe, you’ll need to make some upgrades to your home – and improvements to your prevention and reactive strategies to minimize those risks.
Fire Prevention and Safety
In the United States, there were roughly 1,291,500 fires in 2019, resulting in 3,704 deaths and 16,600 injuries. Damages totaled more than $14.8 billion. Most fires can be prevented, and if you follow these strategies, you’ll reduce your risk profile to almost zero.
1. Minimize and attend open flames
Candles, stovetops, and fireplaces are all practically useful, but they introduce open flames in an indoor environment. Minimize your reliance on open flames and always keep them attended.
2. Install and test smoke detectors
Include at least one smoke detector outside of every bedroom and on each floor. Test them regularly and replace the batteries as needed to ensure they work properly. This can buy you and your family enough time to escape, should a fire break out.
3. Install a fire suppression system
Home fire suppression systems are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to install. They can often completely suppress fires before they cause any damage – or at least prevent them from spreading rapidly.
4. Have fire extinguishers nearby
If you don’t have a fire suppression system in place, at least invest in fire extinguishers so you can respond to small fires and prevent them from growing.
5. Document and practice an escape plan
If a fire begins to spread, you need to know how you’re going to escape. Put together primary and secondary escape routes and rehearse your plan with your family.
Home invasions, burglaries, and other criminal acts can put your family and your property at risk.
6. Install security cameras and burglar alarms
Security cameras are inexpensive and easy to install, and thanks to cloud-based uploading and backup, any homeowner can get access to a high-tech security system. Loud burglar alarms can also scare off would-be intruders before they take anything or do any harm.
7. Secure your doors and windows
Most burglars and home invaders are opportunists, scouting for weak points like doors and windows. Invest in secure locks for all these potential entry points and keep them locked when not in active use.
8. Invest in outdoor lighting
Motion-detecting outdoor lights turn on when they detect movement. It’s a small touch, but an important one for warding off potential threats.
9. Purchase a weapon and practice with it
If you’re not comfortable with firearms, you don’t need to get one – but you should have some way to defend yourself in the event of a home invasion.
Health and Safety Hazards
There’s no shortage of safety hazards in the average home, but these strategies can help you guard against some of the most common ones:
10. Secure poisonous items
Many common household items, such as cleaning products, are extremely poisonous if consumed. Adults should have no trouble avoiding them, but you’ll want to secure them and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
11. Minimize falls
Most of us have slipped and fell at least once in our lives without incident, but falls can be deadly. Keep your home well-lit to avoid tripping and get rid of fall hazards like loose rugs and power cords. Bath mats and non-slip surfaces can also help reduce falls in the bathroom.
12. Keep sharp items secure
Sharp objects can cause cuts if you’re not attentive and careful. Keep knives and tools secure and consider softening sharp corners of furniture.
Miscellaneous Emergency Preparedness
Additionally, you should follow these general emergency preparedness tips:
13. Keep a first aid kit stocked and ready
Put together a first aid kit and keep it stocked. It can help you stop bleeding, minimize pain, and treat certain injuries while help arrives.
14. Maintain emergency supplies
Keep a few gallons of distilled water and nonperishable food on hand, in case you need it. It’s also important to have a flashlight, a radio, and some extra batteries in case of a power outage.
15. Know how to respond to various emergencies
Certain areas face an increased risk of certain disasters or emergencies, such as tornados, floods, earthquakes, and/or wildfires. Do your research and have an emergency plan for each threat that is relevant to you.
You can’t avoid all disasters and you can’t prevent every injury. However, if you follow all the strategies in this guide, you’ll be much better protected than most families – and you’ll have a clear path to minimize harm if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation.