Home Safety Checklist: Steps to Ensure Your Home Is Safe and Sound

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated December 17, 2021
Father in nursery room holding his baby son
Mike Kemp/Tetra images via Getty Images

This home safety checklist can give you peace of mind and help you feel better prepared in the event of an emergency

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It may not be as glamorous a topic as chic home decor or new renovations, but your home’s safety features are hugely important. With a few steps, you can be sure you have properly functioning components like smoke detectors, furnaces, and fire extinguishers. 

Stay prepared for anything and protect yourself and your family with this home safety checklist.

1. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Woman inserting battery in smoke detector
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You should regularly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they’re working correctly. These tools help alert you to a fire in your home, even when you’re sleeping. Similarly, signs of odorless, tasteless, and potentially deadly carbon monoxide can be tricky to spot without the use of a detector.

2. Your Home’s Electrical System

You may take your home’s electricity for granted, but it plays a vital role in doing everything from keeping the lights on to charging your computer, phone, and other devices. However, your home’s electrical system can also, unfortunately, be the source of fires. Conducting proactive maintenance and repairs can help you to ensure that your home is protected.

  • Be alert for electrical warning signs like sparking outlets or flickering lights

  • Make sure your wiring is up to date (a local electrician can help determine this for you)

  • Upgrade to grounded three-prong plugs when necessary

3. Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are a crucial part of your home’s fire safety preparedness. While fire extinguishers cannot combat established fires, they’re a great way to put out small fires in the home before they grow.

  • Consider purchasing a home fire extinguisher if you don’t already have one

  • Make sure that the fire extinguisher is accessible and easy to reach

  • Make sure that you and members of your household know how to use it

  • Replace your fire extinguisher every 10–12 years (or when the manufacturer recommends)

  • Check the gauge at the top of your extinguisher monthly to ensure the needle is still in the green

4. Your Roof

You may not think too much about your roof, but it does an important job day in and day out protecting you from the elements. A damaged or faulty roof can also lead to serious problems in your home, like mold, leaks, and structural issues. Making sure that your roof is safe and secure is a great way to protect your whole home.

You can do much of this work from the ground, but if you do go up on your roof, only do so if conditions are safe and you feel comfortable. Follow all safety precautions when going on your roof, like wearing proper shoes and only going up when it’s dry. Some jobs are better left to a roofer near you.

5. Your Stairs

Mother and daughter going upstairs at home
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You’ve probably been up and down your home’s stairs a thousand times, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always as safe as they seem. In particular, if you have young children or older family members living in your home, you should also check your stairs regularly and make safety additions when needed.

  • Remove clutter on stairs

  • Add stair treads

  • Make sure there’s a light switch at both the top and bottom of any stairs

6. Your Furnace

Your furnace does the hard work of heating your home daily. However, a damaged or malfunctioning furnace can spell danger. Make sure that your furnace is in good working order, and repair it immediately if there’s an issue.

  • Have your heater serviced once a year for routine maintenance and repairs

  • Pay attention to HVAC and furnace problems when they occur

  • Consider upgrading to a furnace with a sealed combustion system

7. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies help make your home look sparkling clean—but they can also pose a hazard to young children and pets. You should ensure your cleaning supplies are stored carefully out of reach of any curious young hands or paws.

  • Keep cleaning supplies stored securely out of reach, using child locks if applicable

  • Avoid storing supplies in areas with extreme hot or cold temperatures

  • Don’t mix chemicals (especially bleach and ammonia)

8. Medical Supplies

When’s the last time you checked out your home’s first aid kit? Whether it’s been gathering dust in a closet somewhere or your supply of bandages is running dangerously low, it’s a good idea to take a look. You should regularly review your medical supplies to ensure that you have what you need in case of a minor injury. It’s also a good idea to create a disaster preparedness kit in case of natural disasters or other emergencies.

  • Make sure you have basic items like bandaids, cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, painkillers, and a thermometer

  • Stock a first aid kit in your home and car

  • Create a disaster preparedness kit with items like shelf-stable food, water, batteries, flashlights, masks, and cash

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