A GUIDE FOR
CHECKING YOUR HOME
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
By Richard G. Pfister
Agricultural Engineering Department
Michigan State University
A rprin t of Mlchrgan 'lair.
ErLtcl'iar. Fiderr P-li
HOME ACCIDENTS kill more children than do polio,
leukemia, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis, kidney disease,
typhoid fever and scarlet fever combined! Most people
feel safe at home, yet facts show that twice as many
people need a physician's care from home accidents as
from highway accidents.
Home fires and injuries are the natural result of defec-
tive construction, defective equipment, poor maintenance,
and poor management practices. The wise homemaker
will continuously try to recognize and correct hazards
and hazardous practices before fire or injuries occur.
This checklist is designed to develop a greater aware-
ness of approved home safety practices. All members
of the family must cooperate to improve and maintain a
After completing this checklist, sit down with the
family and make a list of the things that need to be done
to improve the safety of %our home. Each family mem-
ber can accept the responsibility for removing or correct-
ing certain hazards and hazardous practices.
Homes should be the foundation of safeguarding
human worth. People who learn safety at home show
this attitude on the highway as well as on their jobs.
Every "no" answer on the following checklist identifies
a defect that leads to injury or fire loss. Now is the time
to take action to help your family be safe at home. Act
now to give your home a higher "YES" score.
,- t Is Safety
.-;, Built Into
DOES YOUR HOME HAVE:
1 Handrails securely installed along the full [ -
length of all stairways?
2 Top and bottom steps on basement and at-
tic stairs painted white for better visibility?
3 Basement steps painted a light color to re-
flect light and make them more visible? F" Li
4 Stair treads at least 10 inches wide with 71- [ -1
inch high risers, and are treads and risers m U
5 Head clearance of 6 feet 4 inches or more
above stairways? LJ L..i
6 A minimum of three steps at any change in J 
floor level? F] Li
7 Guard rails for platforms, porches, or patios [- F|
more than 18 inches above grade?
8 Rough, non-skid surface on walks and drives
rather than a smooth finish? M Li
9 Stairways and landings lighted well enough | --
so that you can readily see a rubber band
or hairpin on the tread or floor?
10 Stairway lighting that can be controlled 1--1 "
from both the top and bottom of the stairs? L1 i
11 Light controls at the entrance doors to the [-- I
12 All outside entrance steps well lighted?
13 Good lighting at all kitchen work centers? D I
14 Enough electrical outlets to avoid stretching
cords across work surfaces, sinks, or traffic
15 Enough electrical outlets to avoid use of
16 All electrical connections out of reach from [|
the bath tub? R Fi
17 Light switches within two steps from the [ [7
bed? I I i I
18 Good lighting, strong shelves, and rods in
closets? i L..J
19 Kitchen cabinet doors that do not swing ]
beyond the edge of the base cabinet below
it, unless they are above head height?
20 Available storage in children's play area?
21 Fireproof storage container for valuable rec-
ords that you need at home?
22 Locks on bathroom or bedroom doors
which can be opened from either side?
23 Window screen and storm sash securely
24 Window sills at least 30 inches from floor
on all upstairs windows?
25 Smoke pipe going directly to chimney from
heating plant or stove, without coming in I I
contact with combustible materials?
26 Metal flashing around all chimneys and F [-7
vent pipes? Li i
27 Flue lining in chimney with joints staggered -]
in relation to masonry courses? ] i
28 More than 18 inches clearance between -I
smoke pipe or furnace and combustible Li
material? (Or more than 6 inches when X
inch thick cement asbestos board protects
29 A chimney construction independent of the ]
house framing with the base set on a sound I
concrete footing and the top extending 2
feet above the highest ridge of the roof?
30 A tight-fitting clean-out door at the bottom r] r
of the chimney flue? Li
31 An adequate furnace or stove and sufficient
home insulation so that the heating plant 1
does not overheat in very cold weather?
32 Fire-resistant roofing material, such as as- j
phalt shingles? i
33 A clear space of 150 feet between the house |
and any major farm buildings
Do You Have
DO YOU HAVE:
1 A pressure relief valve on your
2 Adequate heating and insulation
freezing of water pipes?
hot water --I
to prevent L LI
3 Laundry equipment grounded through 3- 7
prong outlet or plumbing? l
4 An available night light (under 10 watts)
for use in bedroom or hall areas?
5 An insulated or plastic link in pull chains
to electric light fixtures?
6 Appliances that are labeled by Underwriters'
7 Proper size fuses or circuit breakers in the
fuse box? (Usually no larger than 15 amps, LI L I
although No. 12 wiring may use 20-amp
8 Electrical wiring that has been checked for  [-]
defects within last five years?
9 Moisture-proof cords for outside use?
10 A lightning arrestor with ground on the
television lead-in-wire, with the antenna F
mast grounded separately?
11 A separate rack for storage of sharp knives [
located higher than an adult's waist level i
and lower than eye level?
12 Kitchen knives kept at uniform sharpness? j D
13 An electric or wall-type can opener that
makes a clean cut and equipped with mag-
net to keep the lid from settling into the
14 Small covered wood or metal boxes for pins,
thimbles, nails, marbles, and other similar I I I
15 Grab bars and/or non-skid mats in bath I j
tubs and showers?
16 The medicine cabinet out of reach of chil- I
dren? (Or if within reach, is it kept lock- EI
17 A well-supplied first aid kit and a knowl-
edge of elementary first aid procedure?
18 Stairway gates that prevent small childrenD J
from falling down stairs?
19 A sturdy step ladder, light enough to be j7 j-
used by a lady? E ._
20 Metal containers for ashes from the furnace? L II
21 Covered metal containers for storage of j j
cleaning cloths and rags that have absorbed
oils, greases, or paints? (Or dispose of these
immediately after use?)
22 Gas burners properly adjusted with no odor
of gas in any part of your house?
23 Kitchen range located away from doors and
windows to avoid traffic near stove and I
eliminate fire hazards from curtains?
24 Large pot holders or oven gloves conven-
iently located near the cooking area and I
replaced with dry holders when they be-
25 Fireplace screen that fits snugly over the
opening, and a hearth extending 20 inches
beyond the sides and front of the fireplace
26 Plenty of large ashtrays? 1 L-i
27 A metal container for matches located out [
of the reach of small children? F
Home Safe? s-
DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY:
1 Regularly inspect and clean chimneys and
2 Keep basements and attics free of accumu-
lations of rubbish, newspapers, and other
3 Regularly clean the workshop, basement, D [
and garage? LI Li
4 Store all flammable fluids in tight metal
containers away from heat?
5 See that gasoline cans are painted red and
stored outside of the home?
6 Replace extension cord outlets with ade-
quate wall outlets so that no extension cord
is in use for more than 2 years?
7 Regularly clean the oven and broiler pan
to prevent accumulation of grease?
8 Check gauges, safety valves, and petcocks
of pressure pans and cookers to assure that
they are in working order?
9 Place furniture to provide for efficient traffic
flow and keep furniture in its normal place
before turning lights out at night?
10 See that scatter rugs are fastened down, m
laid on non-skid pads, or treated with non- L IF
slip sizing material?
]1 Keep all platforms, stair treads, and porch 1-
steps in good repair? R R
1 2 Keep scatter rugs away from the head and [j] li
foot of the stairs? i i ]
13 Keep stairways and landings free from "1
boxes, toys, mops, brooms, tools, or other i
14 Replace stair tread coverings (such as car- -
peting, rubber pads, metal nosing) when F __
worn, or refasten them when loose?
15 Use white paint to call attention to low [ I
hanging pipes or other bumping obstruc-
tions in basement?
16 Keep swings, slides, and other play equip-
ment in good repair?
17 Keep walks and steps free of ice, sanded,
S8 Keep clothes lines tight enough to be easily
reached, yet above head height?
19 Have the yard free of broken glass, nail-
studded boards, garden tools, or other litter?
Safe Habits? i 7
DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY:
1 Consciously look for hazards as you go
about your daily work, making safety a part
of your daily activities?
2 Talk about how to prevent accidents when
you discuss accidents that have happened?
3 Have a plan of action in case of fire at
4 Know the location of your fire department
and are able to quickly summon their help
by telephone at night even if electricity
5 Teach your children how to use matches
safely and provide them with an opportun- I I
ity to help you light fires to burn waste
paper, light candles on a birthday cake,
6 Provide competent supervision for children
every time you leave the home?
7 See that young children sit or stand still
when handling breakable drinking glasses,
pencils, and similar objects?
8 Teach children play activities and skills that -
will prevent falling accidents from porches, I
banisters, railings, etc.?
9 Keep bureau and dressing table drawers
closed when not in use?
10 Use non-flammable cleaning fluids only for
minor spot removal, and use them outside
or in areas having good cross-ventilation?
] Provide ventilation in any room where port-
able gas or oil heaters are used?
12 Always disconnect portable electric appli-
ances at the wall outlet when not in use?
13 Dry hands thoroughly before connecting or
disconnecting electrical equipment?
14 Smoke only when you are out of bed?
S5 Use dry kindling and paper for starting fires
in the stove or furnace, always avoiding the
foolish use of kerosene and other petroleum
fuels to accelerate the fire?
16 Know how to shut off gas, water, and
17 Store lye, bleach, cleaning compounds and
similar supplies completely out of reach of
18 Unload guns before bringing them into your
home and store them in locked cases or out |
of the reach of children?
19 Turn cooking utensil handles in from stove 1
edges? L__| Li
20 Observe the manufacturer's instructions [
when using pressure cooking equipment?
21 Apply floor wax in a thin coat and polish j 1]
thoroughly to reduce slipping? __
22 Bend your knees when lifting, keeping your
chin up and lifting with your leg muscles __l I
to avoid back troubles?
23 Always stay with the baby during every [- 1
minute of his bath?
24 Turn on the light and examine containers ]
before taking medicine? L FL 1
25 Unplug the electric sewing machine or close j
the cover whenever you leave the machine, ]
especially in homes having children or chil-
This checklist includes only some of the more impor-
tant items that need to be considered to have a safe home.
Study your home and activities to do a more complete
job. Remember, recognizing a hazard is only the first
step in preventing accidents. You must remove these
defects if the safety of your home is to be improved.
Manufacturers and trade associations are constantly
making progress in designing or installing safer materials,
equipment and facilities. You stimulate this progress when
you demand safety in home materials and equipment.
Michigan homemakers continue to have a major re-
sponsibility for preventing unnecessary loss of life, suffer-
ing, and financial waste due to home accidents. Unless
aggressive action is taken, each year over 800 Michigan
people will die and many more will be permanently in-
jured due to a lack of positive action for home safety.
THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW!
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE
AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State
University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director