Home Safety

How and When to Start: Make a simple list of the items suggested below along with any additional property issues, and include dates for all warranties and service checks. Choose a recurring date to check these items on an annual basis, at the minimum. Suggestions for easy-to-remember dates are: Daylight Savings Day, your move-in anniversary, or your children's first day of school.

Walkways, Entrance Ways, Stairwells and Hallways: Make sure that these areas in the house are in good repair and are well lit with the maximum safe wattage in light fixtures.

Fire Safety: Install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers that are strategically placed on every level of your home and remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms every Daylight Savings Day. Plan a home fire drill and memorize the fire department's emergency telephone number. In addition, you should install a carbon monoxide detector near all sleeping areas and fuel-burning appliances.

Poison Control: Go through the medicine cabinet and safely dispose of all expired medications (many towns offer free disposable days). All other medicines, household chemicals and cleaners should be stored up high and out of reach of children. The poison control center number should be near every phone in the house.

Home Electric Safety: Don't run extension cords under rugs or carpeting. Be careful not to overload circuits with too many plugs. For small children, install socket guards in all low-lying outlets not in use. Check to see that electrical cords or wires are not draped over radiators. Because they expose young children to shock hazards, replace older electrical cords that have non-polar receptacles and ones that don't have safety closures with three-pronged plugs. Make sure that you have ground fault circuit interrupter outlets installed in the bathroom as well as in the kitchen, laundry room and workshop.

Safe Appliance Use: Major appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners should be plugged into separate circuits. Unplug small kitchen and household appliances when they aren't in use because a voltage surge could turn them on or cause a short circuit. Replace all appliances with frayed, damaged or patched cords. Make sure to check warranties and service contracts and schedule regular inspections of major appliances such as furnaces, hot water heaters and air conditioning units.

Not only will these safety checks be beneficial to keeping your family, pets and home safe and secure, but it can save money in the long run. Just as one would keep an automobile serviced and checked, items in the home can run more smoothly and last longer if they are attended to on a regular basis. For help in keeping track and servicing your home's needs, the Coldwell Banker Concierge® Service Program can help you manage and find appropriate vendors and service providers.