Home Accident Prevention: Seasonal Safety Tips for Fall
We all want our families and guests to feel welcome and safe in our homes, but the home is unfortunately also one of the most common locations for accidents that result in injury or death.
In 2017, an estimated 127,300 preventable injury-related deaths occurred in homes and communities, or about 75% of all preventable injury-related deaths that year. (National Safety Council)
There are certain dangers that are always present in our homes (such as dangerous chemicals and slips and falls), but as the seasons change, specific threats manifest themselves. Here’s what you should watch out for in and around your home during the fall season to protect yourself and others.
Tips for Home Fire Safety
Practicing proper fire, electrical, and heating safety in your home is especially important in the colder months. As temperatures continue to dip, we all begin to fire up our furnaces, fireplaces, and space heaters, but each has its own dangers to be aware of.
Tune up your furnace
Before you begin using your furnace, check that there is nothing flammable around it and change the filter. You should also have an HVAC professional visit your home to do an inspection and tune up. You want to ensure everything is in safe running order before you begin using it regularly to avoid the risk of a fire, gas leak, or explosion.
Clean and inspect your chimney
You should have your chimney professionally inspected each year by a chimney sweep. It should also be cleaned to prevent the buildup of soot and creosote (a byproduct of wood combustion that consists mainly of tar), which can cause a host of health problems as well as spark a chimney fire. Never attempt to repair your fireplace or chimney yourself.
Use space heaters with caution
More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. (Electrical Safety Foundation International) Many homes use space heaters as a supplemental heat source during cold weather, but they must be used with caution.
- Always place the heater on a flat, level surface and unplug when not in use
- Follow the “three feet from the heat” or “a meter from the heater” rule for safe spacing
- Never leave a space heater on unattended or while sleeping
- Do not use heaters that are damaged (frayed cords, cracked or broken plugs, etc.)
Additional Fire Safety Tips for Fall
- Change batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors
- Test all detectors after replacing batteries
- Check fire protection equipment (fire extinguishers) and replace if needed
- Do not leave lit candles unattended; use LED lights for jack-o-lanterns
- Do not burn leaves — it causes air pollution, is a fire hazard, and is illegal in many places
Tips for Yard Safety
Your home’s exterior needs as much care and attention as the interior to prevent injuries — perhaps more so. Children and pets may enter your yard without your knowledge, so it’s important to keep it clear of hazards.
Add motion sensor outdoor lighting
One of the main causes of falls around the home is poor lighting conditions. As it starts getting darker earlier it’s important to ensure you have proper lighting around your home’s exterior. Motion sensor lighting around your home exterior and walkways discourages intruders as well as protecting against falls.
Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall. Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation. (National Floor Safety Institute)
Keep walkways and driveways clear
Debris on your walkways and driveways can lead to dangerous slips and falls, and in the fall, leaves are a common culprit. Leaves also become slippery when wet, escalating the potential for accident and injury. Keep all walkways and driveways clear of leaves, toys, bikes, and other debris.
Safely store equipment
Put rakes, ladders, and other yard equipment away after each use. A rake lying on the ground (especially if there are still leaves present) is a hazard for tripping as well as puncturing the foot. Also lock chemicals such as gasoline and fertilizers in a garage or shed.
Trim your trees
Dead tree branches can break off and fall, especially during storms, high winds, or under the weight of heavy snowfall. Branches that pose a hazard and should be removed include any that hang over the roof of your home and ones growing into electric lines.
Protect Yourself With a Personal Injury Attorney
If you are injured in an accident in someone’s home or someone is injured in your home, contact the personal injury attorneys at Hall Law for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story and tell you if we can help.