New Canadian homeowners may not realize the potential for injury in their home. As many residents spend a significant amount of time indoors, it is important to track down areas that may require attention to make it safer environment for all occupants. Pets, the elderly and young children may all be subject to a physical injury or worse when new homeowners have not addressed common home safety hazards.
Explore some common home safety hazards that can be experienced by first-time homeowners today.
Obstacles May Pose a Threat
Head injuries or broken bones result in the 20 per cent of older adults who fall. Injuries as a result of falls is a common household hazard. Many homeowners may be moving into older homes needing some TLC. Lighting is important in key home areas to prevent falls. Entrances should be well-lit with an outdoor light and clutter removed from areas such as the walkways and front steps. Ensure that all entrances have an outdoor light and that pathways to the outdoors offer good traction and railings, such as on railings and outdoor stairs. These are areas where it can be easy to slip and fall for occupants of any age and health, posing an unnecessary risk for injury. Injuries due to falls can occur in older homes and in new construction. The potential for falls can be increased by:
- Slippery stairs;
- Scattered toys; and
- Wet floors.
The Government of Canada recommends that homeowners avoid using scatter mats and throw rugs. Scatter mats and throw rugs should be secured when used at all. Try to keep high traffic areas clutter free to decrease the potential for a fall. It is possible to minimize risk of falls. Homeowners will want to:
- Clear outdoor steps;
- Stabilize Staircases; and
- Keep outdoor steps free from debris.
New homeowners would do well to keep a first aid kit in an easy to access area in the case of a minor cut or injury.
The Potential of Smoke and Fire Hazards
Fires in homes can lead to smoke damage, complete devastation and loss of life. One way to prevent home fires is to use smoke alarms. Check that smoke alarms are working. Make note to test alarms monthly and replace batteries every 6 months or so. Many fires begin at night and smoke alarms have been known to save lives. Large homes need multiple smoke alarms as there needs to be a smoke alarm places at each of the levels of a residence.
All occupants need to know how to operate a fire extinguisher. Family members should take steps to understand how to use a fire extinguisher, and know and practice a fire escape plan. Have a location to meet outside of a home if a fire does occur.
The Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and invisible, making it difficult for humans to detect with their senses. There are symptoms for those exposed to the gas. Individuals who breathe in carbon monoxide may experience headaches, shortness of breath, nausea and more. Accidental deaths have been known to occur from asphyxia due to vehicle exhaust and furnace fumes. Installation of a carbon monoxide detector can help keep Canadian residents safe from this hazard. Carbon monoxide alarms need to be regularly tested and multiple alarms will have to be installed throughout a home.
Stay Safe in a New Home
Canadian West Springs homeowners need to set aside time to secure railings, install additional carbon monoxide protectors and more. Taking such steps can help avert serious health consequences for occupants in a home.
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.