NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Improving Home Safety

Improving Home Safety


          Our unusually warm fall weather continues with every warm day allowing us to enjoy time outdoors. But…., we all know what type of weather will be arriving later this year.  Our North Dakota winters mean more time indoors.  Everyone wants their home to be a refuge from work, weather and worry but sometimes our home are far from safe harbors.  Home accidents are a major source of injuries and can even cause death. To insure your home is accident free, take few moments this wonderful fall to check the following safety hazards.

          General Safety

Emergency numbers and your address are posted by each telephone.

The telephone can be reached from the floor or you carry a cell phone with you.

Inside and outside door handles and locks are easy to operate.

Windows are easily opened from the inside but have secure locks that can prevent someone from entering from the outside.

The thermostat of the water heater is set at 120 degrees F or lower to prevent accidental scalding.

Small, loose rugs have nonskid backing and are not placed in traffic areas.

Appliances, lamps and cords are clean and in good condition.

All electrical equipment bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.

Enough outlets are located where they are needed in every room.

Electrical overload protection is provided by circuit breakers, fuses or ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).

The electrical service has enough capacity and is up to code. (An electrical inspector can check the wiring in your house.)

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and in working order. (One idea to help you remember to change the batteries is to replace them on your birthday.) .


The range and sink areas are well lighted.

If you have a gas range, it is equipped with pilot lights and an automatic cut-off in the event of flame failure. (Our local utility service can check this for you.)

If you have an exhaust hood for the oven, it has easily removable filters for proper cleaning..

There is enough countertop lighting for meal preparation. 

Flooring is safe and nonslip.

When cooking, you turn pan handles away from other burners and the edge of the range.

Hot pads and pan holders are kept near the range.

If you have a microwave oven, operate it only when there is food in it. Use potholders to avoid burns.

Small appliances are unplugged when not in use.

Knives are kept in a knife rack or drawer.

Counter tops and work areas are cleared of all unnecessary objects.

Drawers and cupboards are kept closed.

You use a sturdy, stable stepladder or stepstool rather than a chair to reach objects in overhead cabinets.

You wipe up grease or liquid spills at once.

          Stairways and Halls

Steps are in good condition and are free of objects. .

There are smoke detectors in hallways and near sleeping areas.

Hallways are equipped with night-lights.

Sturdy handrails are on both sides of stairways and are securely fastened.

Light switches are located at the top and bottom of stairways and at both ends of long hallways.

Inside doors do not swing out over stair steps.

          Living Room

Electrical cords are placed along walls, not under rugs, and away from traffic areas.

There is enough space to walk through the room, leaving clear passageways for traffic.

Furniture that might be used for support when walking or rising is steady and secure.


The bathtub or shower has a nonskid mat or strips on the standing area.

The towel bars and the soap dish in the shower stall are made of durable materials and are firmly installed.

The shower or tub has a single-lever, antiscald mixing faucet.

The light switch is located near the door. .

A night-light is available.


You keep a lamp or flashlight within reach of your bed. Periodically check the batteries.

A night-light is used to brighten the way to the bathroom at night.

You have plenty of room to walk around the bed.

You have an adequate-sized nightstand or small table for the telephone, or cell phone, glasses and other important items.

          Outdoor Area

Steps and walkways are in good condition.

Handrails are sturdy and securely fastened.

Doorways, steps, porches and walkways have good lighting.

Porches, balconies, terraces, window wells and other heights or depressions are protected by railings, closed with banisters, closed with fences, closed with accordion gates, or are otherwise protected.

Hedges, trees or shrubs do not hide the view of the street from the driveway.

Security lighting is installed outside the house.

The garage is adequately ventilated.


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