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Gerrie Duffy, CRS, ABR
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Information for Buyers and Sellers


Safety Tips

Whether you're buying or selling your home, safety is a top priority. Here are twenty helpful safety tips to keep your house and your family safe.

  • Smoke Detectors. Change the batteries twice a year when you change your clocks. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends that you replace your smoke detectors after ten years and test them once a month to be sure they work.

  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors. The NFPA recommends these alarms for households with attached garages and those with fuel-burning appliances or fireplaces.

  • Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters. These electrical outlets with quick-tripping circuit breakers help prevent death or injury from electrocution and can be installed by an electrician.

  • Fire Extinguishers. A multipurpose dry chemical class ABC type is the best fire extinguisher for home use. Keep one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom, one near the fireplace, and one in your car. Make sure everyone in the household knows how to use them. Check the extinguishers periodically and replaced them when they expire.

  • Emergency Evacuation Plan. Come up with a plan for escaping in a fire and for natural disasters. Make sure everyone in the house participates in the practices.

  • Flashlights. Keep a flashlight under or near each person's bed and one in the basement . If you live in an area with frequent power failures, buy a few of the kind with a large base so they don't have to be hand held if the power is off for several hours. Check batteries every few months and store a supply of extra batteries where you can find them easily.

  • First Aid Kit. Include First-aid manual, Sterile gauze pads, Adhesive tape, Adhesive bandages, Scissors, Elastic bandage, Safety pins, Latex or thin plastic medical gloves, Peroxide for cleansing wounds and dissolving blood stains, Antiseptic liquid or ointment, Small plastic bags, Benzocaine spray, Hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Saline eye drops, Tweezers, Thermometer, Mouthpiece for administering CPR, Cotton swabs.

  • List of Emergency Phone Numbers.

  • Shutoff Valve Tags. Label the turnoff valves for gas, oil, and water and clearly mark the main electricity shutoff. Know how to use each in case of emergency.

  • Grab Bars. Since falls are among the leading causes of home accidents, and bathtubs are among the slipperiest surfaces, anchor grab bars into the wall studs in tubs and showers.

  • Slip-Resistant Finishes. Use non-slip mats or strips or decals in bathtubs and showers to help prevent slipping.

  • Safety Glazing. Every glass pane in your house should be shatterproof. Look for a mark in the lower corner showing the manufacturer's name and type and thickness of safety glass. Don't forget shower and patio doors.

  • Handrails. Indoors or outdoors, every staircase in your home should have secure handrails on both sides.

  • Step Stool / Utility Ladder. Keeping a lightweight, sturdy step stool in an convenient spot will decrease the likelihood of anyone taking chances standing on a chair or other dangerous perch.

  • Sufficient Lighting. Help prevent falls with nightlights near bedrooms and bathrooms. Keep interior and exterior stairways and walkways adequately lit.

  • Tested Appliances. Every electric and gas appliance in your home should carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or American Gas Association (AGA) designations.

  • Safety Goggles. These are an absolute necessity when using certain tools; they're also recommended by the NSC for indoor cleaning and garage and yard work.

  • Survival Kit.

  • Childproofing.

  • Pool Safety. Homes with swimming pools should have the following: A four-foot fence with self-closing and latching gate, life preservers, rescue equipment, lockable cabinet for storing pool chemicals, and a poolside telephone.