Home Safety Checklist

Our homes are supposed to be a sanctuary not a nightmare.  Below you will find a number of ways to be safer under your own roof.

Burglar-Proofing Your Home

  • Install a deadbolt in every door of your home that leads to the outside, including the door that leads to the garage.
  • Use an inside keyed lock in doors that have glass that can be broken.
  • Install motion sensing detectors in the backyard and by the garage.  I like the Ring brand name which also has video.
  • Don’t use your name on your mailbox.  Instead, place your street number on your mailbox and on your home (making sure that is easily read from the road).
  • Give a spare key to a nearby friend or trustworthy neighbor.
  • Place locks on outdoor storage sheds, breaker boxes, and gates to the backyard.
  • Keep your shrubs trimmed to take away any additional hiding places.  Also, it’s a good idea to keep any overhanging tree limbs cut back from your home.
  • Destroy labels of old prescription bottles.
  • If you go on vacation make sure that your home looks “lived in” by leaving a car in the driveway, stop mail delivery, and put your lights on a timer.
  • Never leave a garage door opener in a car that is not stored in a garage.
  • If you have a sliding glass door, place a wood dowel in the tracking.
  • Keep all important papers like bank statements and credit documents stored in a safe.


Have a Plan B (Escape Route for Emergency)

  • In case of a fire or other emergency, have an escape ladder for upstairs windows.
  • Always have a singular place for your family to meet if you’re separated during a local or national emergency.
  • Establish an interior room of the house that all members (and pets) can go to in case of a tornado.


Electrical Issues

  • Don’t overload outlets by plugging in more than one high voltage appliance.
  • If certain outlets or light fixtures are hot, have them checked out by a licensed electrician.
  • Sometimes electrical wires can become worn.  Periodically check to make sure there aren’t any bare or frayed wires.
  • Have a light switch at the bottom and top of stairs.
  • Utilize plastic plug covers for outlets if you have small children.
  • Do not run electrical cords underneath rugs or carpet.  They can wear out and cause a fire.


Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detection

  • Test all detectors every 30 days.
  • Don’t skimp when it comes to placing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors around the house.  They should be located on all floors, near bedrooms, and living areas.
  • Most people never think to vacuum their detectors but it’s a must so they operate properly.
  • Replace the batteries every 12 months.


Heating Your Home

  • Inspect water heaters every 12 months.  They should never be set higher than 120 degrees.
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace, have your chimney and flues inspected and cleaned annually. 
  • For your fireplace, use wood that is dry and seasoned to prevent creosote which can cause fires.
  • Make sure outside vents are clean and unobstructed.


If You Have Kids….

  • Place locks on cabinet doors.
  • Have a safety gate at the top of stairs.
  • Assure that all of your medicine has childproof caps.
  • Put away and lock up all hazardous materials.
  • If you’re a gun owner, lock them away separately from their ammunition.
  • Put doorknob safety covers on doors you don’t want your kids to go through.
  • Use cordless window coverings to prevent strangling or store cords high above reach.
  • Place padding over any sharp edges like a fireplace hearth or coffee table.
  • Have your kids memorize your address and teach them how to dial 911.


Miscellaneous Safety Tips

  • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage, and on all floors of your house.
  • Store flammable material outside of the home.
  • Use a non-skid mat in your tub.
  • Have a flashlight in your nightstand and near every bed of the house, checking the batteries periodically.
  • Post emergency information on your refrigerator.
  • Have a well-stocked First Aid Kit.
  • Install a Weather Alert App for your phone.
  • Never start your car while in the garage with the garage door closed.
  • Check for stumbling risks like an uneven sidewalk due to tree roots growing underneath.
  • Put non-slip material under throw rugs to prevent falling.
  • Make sure window locks work and are easy to operate.

Signature - Home Safety Checklist

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.