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NOTE: Statistics reflect most current data available.

Your home is where you expect to feel the safest but each year, home injuries permanently disable millions of people and claim tens of thousands of lives. Protect yourself, your family and your friends from falls, fires, burns and accidental poisonings by following the list of safety items below.

This list is not all-inclusive. The age and layout of the home, the extra features found in the home such as whirlpool tubs or fireplaces, and the age and health of the people who live in the home may require additional safety tools.

Smoke Alarm. Most fire deaths in the home happen at night. Many victims die because of smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, workshop, and especially in and outside sleeping rooms. Be sure to test batteries at least once a month and never remove batteries from a smoke alarm except to replace them.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Because CO is odorless, colorless and tasteless, it often goes undetected. Carbon monoxide is a normal byproduct of combustion. Therefore, any fuel-burning appliance in your home is a potential CO source. Minnesota law requires all single and multifamily homes to have CO alarms placed within ten feet of every bedroom. Be sure your alarm displays the Underwriters Laboratories label.

Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter. A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an electronic device that helps protect you from serious injury by monitoring the electricity flowing in the circuit. If an imbalance occurs, the GFCI will almost instantly shut off the current flowing through the circuit. A GFCI is essential in circuits to bathrooms, laundry facilities, kitchens, swimming pools and outdoor receptacles. Test the GFCI monthly by pressing the test button on the outlet and then the reset button.

Fire Extinguisher. A multipurpose dry chemical (Class ABC) fire extinguisher is the best choice for general home use. Mount the extinguisher on a bracket on the wall near an exit so that anyone using it can easily escape from the room if a fire spreads. All occupants of the home must know when and how to properly use the extinguisher.

Emergency Evacuation Plan. Make your plan now - before you need it. Have at least two exits from every room and include all occupants of the home in reviewing the plan.

Flashlights. Make sure the batteries are functional. Keep flashlights readily accessible at bedsides and in the basement.

First Aid Kit. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home. Make sure everyone knows where to find it and how and when to use the items in it.

List of Emergency Phone Numbers. Post a list of emergency numbers including police, fire, doctors and poison-prevention centers at every telephone in the home. In the event of an emergency, time is of the essence and even a very young child can phone for help if the number is available.

Tagged Shutoffs. Place tags on the shutoff valves in your home for gas, oil and water, and the main shutoff for your electrical supply. Know how to safely turn off these services to your home in the event of an emergency.

Grab Bars. Install grab bars in all bathtubs and shower stalls. Firmly anchor them into the wall studding with long screws.

Slip-Resistant Finishes. Use a non-slip mat or install strips or decals in bathtubs or showers to help prevent slipping.

Safety glazing (safety glass). Required by the International Residential Code in a number of locations including shower doors, patio doors, windows adjacent to bathtubs, enclosures for indoor/outdoor pools, side-hinged doors (including storm doors), window walls, or any large glass panel in a home. (For a complete list of required locations, visit Each pane of safety glazing is required to be permanently labeled. Look for a mark in the lower corner showing the manufacturer's name, type of safety glass and thickness.

Handrails. Every set of stairs, whether inside or outside your home, should have handrails securely mounted to both sides.

Step Stool/Utility Ladder. A light-weight, sturdy step stool or utility ladder is necessary for access to hard-to-reach places, for hanging pictures, for cleaning and for general home maintenance. Having it readily accessible will keep you from using a chair.

Lighting. Use nightlights near bathrooms, bedrooms and stairwells. Make sure stairwells and hallways are always adequately lit. Provide sufficient lighting to all walkways and entrances to your home.

Tested Appliances. All electric and gas appliances in your home should carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or American Gas Association (AGA) designation.

Safety Goggles. Eye protection is an absolute must for the do-it-yourselfer, but is also recommended for certain types of indoor cleaning and yard and garage work.

Inspect your home regularly. Read warning labels and user manuals and file them where they can be found quickly. Make sure the safety steps you take meet the needs of those who live there. Special consideration must be given to homes where children live or visit. Ensure the home has:
  Locking cabinets for medications, matches, lighters, flammable liquids, potentially poisonous household cleaners, garden pesticides, auto chemicals, pool cleaners, etc. Be certain that guns and ammunition are stored separately and locked away.
  Plastic safety caps to cover any unused electrical outlets; cabinet locks for kitchen, hobby areas and bath vanities.
  Child-safety gates at the top and bottom of stairwells.
  A metal fire screen that completely covers the fireplace.
  Spout guards and a mixer faucet for hot and cold bathtub water faucets.
  Edge guards for sharp-edged furniture and fireplace hearths.
  Cordless window coverings to help prevent against strangulation.
  Window guards to help protect against falls from windows.
  Furniture anchors to avoid furniture and appliance tip overs.
  Protective surfacing under and around all outdoor playground equipment.

National Safety Council

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