How to Prevent Accidents at Home

Your home is probably somewhere you feel quite safe and yet many serious accidents take place in homes: every day people fall, drown, suffocate, choke, are electrocuted and poisoned. By thinking ahead you can do much to prevent these accidents happening: making your home safe is your responsibility.

Keeping yourself and your family safe is a task that is becoming increas­ingly important, and more worrying. It used to be almost enough to keep a cat to devour the odd mouse, to shut the front door at night and to make sure your open fire was not burning too fiercely before you went to bed. Today safety in the home covers everything from secur­ity to pollution, as each new ‘conve­nience’ appliance brings its own risks. These risks can be reduced if they are recognized in the first place.

Prevent Accidents at Home

The risks


The risk of tire has been with us since time immemorial, only there arc now more ways of both causing fires and ext­inguishing them. Obvious causes of fires in the home are cigarettes, lighters, candles, matches, unattended irons and frying pans. There are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fire start­ing in your home; there are also ways of containing it once it does start. Make yourself familiar with all of these.


The combination of water and electri­city can be fatal, so be very careful -especially if you have a flood in your home. Water can be very destructive, so use it thoughtfully: keep an eye on a running tap and place washing ma­chines and dishwashers in places where they will cause the least damage if they do flood. Be sure that you know how to turn your water off at the mains and always call a plumber if you are in any doubt about your water system.

Gas and electricity

The danger from gas is explosion; from electricity, fire. Make sure you know how both systems work in your home and how to turn them off at the main supply in a hurry. Check individual appliances regularly or have them ser­viced by an expert when necessary. Use appliances correctly too, following manufacturers’ instructions.


Many people fall at home, especially the very old and very young. You can safeguard against certain falls by mak­ing sure you use non-slip polish on shiny floors, that your rugs have special non-slip underfelt placed under them and that all steps or changes of level are well lit. If your home has uneven floors, frayed carpets or loose floor tiles it is up to you to mend them.

Other accidents

Medicines, drugs, cleaning fluids, paints, weedkillers and sharp imple­ments, etc need to be locked away or put out of reach of children. Food needs to be handled with care to prevent poison­ing and stored so as to protect it from being contaminated, or simply ageing. Flammable fluids must be kept safely according to relevant regulations and all storage must be uncluttered and easy to reach when needed.

Building and decorating

There are now safety regulations which apply to almost all aspects of a building. There are fire-retardant specifications for internal walls, doors, paints, etc to help prevent a fire spreading; there are specifications for bathroom and toilet positioning to ensure hygiene; and there are flame-retardant covers and fillings for upholstered furniture as well as flame-resistant fabrics that can be used for clothing. Most appliances also have to comply with stringent safety regul­ations; so avoid buying electrical goods in street markets or from strangers, and make sure new goods meet the stan­dards set by the relevant body.


The main danger from the weather is damp, which can get into your home from the top, bottom or sides. In damp conditions, timber is exposed to attack by mould and fungi, such as wet and dry rot, and your walls are exposed to rising damp. Dampness may need expert at­tention or you may be able to deal with it yourself. What you can do is keep your home dry and well ventilated and keep a constant check that water is not pene­trating your home through the roof, the walls or the floor.


Many pests are health hazards, and it is important to keep them at bay. There are specialist firms which will remove them from your home by fumigation or use of insecticides and poisons, but you can try and prevent pest infestations in the first place by keeping a clean home.

Clear out any birds nesting in your roof or eaves and give cats flea collars to wear. Keep other flying pests out with mesh screens over open windows and doors and always keep your kitchen and larder floors and surfaces spotlessly clean. Never leave food out unprotec­ted, empty your compost bin regularly and keep rubbish in closed bags or bins. If you suspect rodents, keep food in mouse-proof containers and any holes in skirtings securely filled.

Prevent Accidents at Home


Many of the household products we have been taking for granted and freely using around the home have recently been shown to be hazardous either to our health or to the environment. For example, aerosol containers, used for everything from shaving foam to whipped cream, contain CFCs which are now known to be destroying the ozone layer. Stop buying household products in aerosol containers or buy only non-CFC brands. Many timber treatments, insect killers, do-it-yourself materials and household cleaners are also known to be toxic. If possible, use a green alternative.

Look after yourself

Avoid all unnecessary risks: know your limitations and ask for professional help in tackling tasks if you feel they may be beyond your capability. Never under­take work alone, especially if it could be dangerous – such as working on ladders, working with electricity, etc. Learn basic first aid from a recognized author­ity and keep a well-stocked first aid kit. Look after tools and equipment and only use them in a safe environment. Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of space. Accidents happen when you least expect them.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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