Home Safety Checklist: The 10 Items Every Home Needs

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Here’s an alarming statistic: From 2000 to 2008, more than 30,000 Americans died each year on average from accidents at home. That’s why it’s important to not only have safety items in the home, but also to know the right way to use them. Help keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way by making sure you have these items:

1. Fire alarms: Make sure fire alarms are installed all around the house, not just in one room. Don’t forget to test them every month to make sure they’re in working condition, and change the batteries every year.

2. Fire extinguisher: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends you use a fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing. The association also recommends selecting a multipurpose extinguisher large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to carry. Read more safety tips and how to use a fire extinguisher here.

3. Carbon monoxide detector: According to the NFPA, you should install carbon monoxide alarms outside each bedroom and on every level of your house. It’s best if all alarms are interconnected, so if one alarm detects something, they all sound. As with smoke alarms, make sure to test your carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month.

4. Stove knob covers: If you’ve got children at home, you know how much they love exploring, and how much they might be tempted to fiddle with the knobs on the stove. Keep kids out of harm’s way by using stove knob covers, which will help keep everyone safe.

5. Nonslip strips or floor mats: Falling is the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide, and 37 million people need medical attention around the world every year because of falls. To prevent a nasty fall, invest in nonslip floor mats for the bathroom and nonslip strips for stairs.

6. Easily accessible phone numbers: Program emergency phone numbers into your phone, but keep a physical list of important numbers — including doctors, relatives, and anyone else whose number you might need if your phone died — in a spot that’s easy to access, too. Consider putting your list on the refrigerator or keeping it in a notepad on the coffee table.

7. Home security system: Research shows that burglars tend to avoid homes with security systems. In a study from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 60 percent of the 422 surveyed incarcerated burglars indicated they would altogether avoid burglarizing a home with an alarm.

8. A safe: Keep your valuables and important documents secure by locking them in a safe. Make sure to install your safe in a spot hidden from plain sight, like in the back of a hall closet or inside your sock drawer.

9. Outlet covers: If you have children or plan to have children in the house, outlet covers will help ensure their safety. Kids like to pick and prod, and according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, nearly seven children a day suffer severe shock and burns as a result of sticking items into electrical outlets. Take the possibility of electrocution seriously and cover up your outlets.

10. Childproof latches: This is another must-have for those with young children around. Kids can open cabinets and drawers with potentially harmful items inside, or they could slam doors and drawers on little fingers. Avoid any problems by locking cabinets and drawer