Home Safety Checklist
Having a home to call your own is a luxury that many of us take for granted, providing us with somewhere safe to relax, recharge, entertain and enjoy the company of loved ones. But safety hazards are rife in almost every home you can find, whether it’s something obvious like toys lying around or something more sinister that isn’t immediately visible to the naked eye.
Keeping your home as safe as possible is a job that never ends, but it’s something that all of us need to keep on top of. Here is our home safety checklist, helping you to check on any potentially hazardous areas of your home that could increase the risk of an accident or injury. Let’s get started.
Electrical systems pose one of the biggest safety threats to your home, which is why they should regularly be inspected and maintained, preferably by a trusted local electrician who is licensed, registered and insured.
Some things to look out for in particular are loose or frayed wires, electrical outlets overheating, overloading your system, electrical wires in unsafe areas such as under rugs or carpets and electrical equipment such as TVs and stereo equipment being positioned against walls and secured if possible. If you’ve recently moved into a new home or are inspecting a home you are potentially purchasing, getting a home electrical safety inspection can be an excellent way to make sure no unsafe electrical work has been done.
Smoke alarms are required in every residential home, and it’s recommended to have one in every bedroom of a residence as well as the living area. Only working smoke alarms save lives, so it’s recommended that you conduct a quick test once a month by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.
If your home has a carbon monoxide detector, make sure you change the batteries at least once a year and make sure you’ve installed them correctly by pressing the button and waiting for a “beep” sound. If you have a security alarm system, check with the manufacturer how often it has to be serviced or replaced.
There are many different ways to heat your home, each coming with its own risks. If you have outside vents, make sure they’re properly sealed and free from any obstructions that could lead to a carbon monoxide build-up inside your home. For those lucky enough to have a fireplace, only use dry seasoned wood, as it can burn without producing a high amount of soot which poses a high fire hazard. You should also have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once a year.
Another thing you’ll need to inspect annually if you have them is your water heaters. They should never be set higher than 50 degrees celsius or have flammable materials in their radius.
Water Sprinklers and Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems are not mandatory in Australian homes, but in the event of a fire, they can be life savers. If you do keep fire extinguishers in your home, have one in the kitchen and one on every other floor and make sure you know how to use them. They’ll have to be replaced on a certain schedule, so keep track of this and always replace an extinguisher that appears to be damaged.
If you have water sprinklers, they should have both annual and five-year servicing to ensure they’re in good working order.
Fire Evacuation Plan
While every business has a fire evacuation plan, every home should have one too. Come up with an escape plan that has two exit routes and practise it at least twice a year, with one of those being at night. If you live in a two-story home, invest in a rescue ladder that you can attach to an upper-level window.
If you have young children, you’ll need to take extra safety measures to ensure their protection. This includes installing safety locks and latches on cabinets and drawers, putting window guards on every window, placing safety gates on the top and bottom of any stairs, locking up any hazardous products and placing childproof caps on medicines and vitamins.
Another important thing to do is once they’re old enough, teach your kids their address and how to dial 000. In the case of an emergency involving you or other members of your family, this means that your child will be able to call for help and not have to rely on someone else to do so.