Each year nearly 21 million family members suffer injuries in the home. Here are some suggestions that could help you prevent an injury within your home. Check every room in your house to make your home is safe from the following hazards.
Falling (the most common injury in homes)
- Keep the floor clean. Clean up spills right away.
- If you use throw rugs, place them over a rug liner or choose rugs with non-skid backs to reduce your chance of falling.
- Use a non-slip mat or install adhesive strips in your tub or shower.
- Tuck away telephone, computer and electrical cords out of walkways.
- All stairs and steps need handrails. If you have stairs in your home and have children, use baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Have all walkways well-lit and use night lights as needed.
- Have a flashlight that works.
- Keep all hazardous materials and liquids out of the reach of children.
- Keep medications out of the reach of children.
- Know your local poison control number or dial 1-800-222-1222.
Fire and burn prevention
- Have smoke detectors in every level of your home, and replace batteries at least once per year.
- Test each smoke detector once a month, if not working check the batteries.
- Have a fire plan and be sure all family members know what to do if there's a fire.
- Place covers over electrical outlets.
- Keep children away from the stove and never leave the stove unattended while cooking.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Remember to Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 911 or your local emergency phone number.
- Yell "Fire!" several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
- If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
- If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 911. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
- Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
Natural disaster (blizzard, earthquake, hurricane, or tornado)
- In disaster-prone areas, store food and extra bottled water. Have a transistor radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Check for injuries.
- Check your home for any gas or water leaks and turn off appropriate valves.
- Stay away from windows or broken glass. Wear shoes at all times.
- Evacuate area if necessary.
- If evacuation is necessary, go to the nearest shelter and notify the organizers of any special needs you have.
- Notify your gas and electric companies if there is a loss of power. Report any special needs for a back-up generator to the electric and gas companies.
- Have a transistor radio, flashlights, batteries and/or candles available. (If on oxygen, turn it off before lighting candles.)
- To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators, pressure washers, grills, and similar items outdoors only.
- If the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40°F.
- Check with local authorities to make sure your water is safe.
- In hot weather, stay cool by drinking plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.
- In cold weather, wear layers of clothing which help to keep in body heat.
- Avoid downed power lines, if a power line falls on your car, you should stay inside the vehicle.
- In flood-prone areas, store extra food and extra bottled water.
- Have a transistor radio, flashlights and batteries available. Get a pipe wrench to shut off valves for gas and water. Report any special needs for a back-up generator to the electric and gas companies.
- Unplug your infusion pump unless the IV pole is touching water.
- Evacuate the area.
- Contact the local law enforcement, civil defense and/or emergency preparedness.