Exterior Home Safety Checklist
Driveways, Walkways and Yards
□ View the home from the street or driveway. Is the entry door clearly visible? Is it well lit at night? Trim back overgrown shrubs and install lighting capable of flooding the entry area to deter criminals. Spring is the best time to inspect and prune as needed.
□ Look up. Do you see any dead tree tops or rotten tree limbs? Are there branches – dead or alive – hanging over the rooftop or near power lines? Cut back trees to prevent rotting roofs or downed electrical wires and eliminate dead or dying limbs to help avoid damage during a storm.
□ Are the driveway and sidewalk level and in good repair? Look for cracks, buckling surfaces or holes that can cause tripping and falls, especially for the elderly or disabled.
□ Walk around the property to find potential concerns. Are there any holes in the lawn? Pay attention to patches of poison ivy, bee nests, ant hills or any other problems.
□ Are woodpiles, accumulated brush, garbage bins and recyclable can collections located well away from the house? Not only are termites, ants and roaches attracted to these environments – and it’s a short trip into your house when the items are stacked near your house – but snakes, mice and other pests may be as well.
Pool Areas and Outbuildings
□ Look closely at decks, patios and porches. Are the steps leading to the structure solid? Bounce on them slightly to test. Walk the length of the structure, looking for rotting wood, soft flooring, buckling surfaces, cracks or other hazards.
□ Is the railing surrounding the deck or porch strong? Pull on it to test the stability. If you don’t have a rail surrounding an elevated structure, install one immediately.
□ Are the garage doors in proper working order? Are they solid? Do they lift easily? Change the batteries in automatic garage door openers yearly.
□ Is there adequate lighting available in the garage?
Interior Home Safety Checklist
Exterior Doors, Windows and General Safety Concerns
□ Check every door leading to the outside. Do they open and close easily? Are they strong? Do the locks work smoothly? Do the doors seal well? Any gap between the door and trim provides an easy way to pry the door open from the outside.
□ Is there a light switch within reach of the entry door? The ability to turn on a light immediately upon entering a dark house is an important safety feature.
□ Pay close attention to the floors in the house. Repair or replace flooring that begins to warp, buckle, peel, or may cause trips and falls.
□ Keep carpets and rugs flat on the floor, secured to prevent skidding and slipping. Use double-sided tape to secure loose rugs.
□ Test peeling paint for lead or, as the EPA suggests, hire a certified inspector to test the entire home for lead if the home has never been inspected or you plan to remodel.
□ Keep windows in good working condition, easily opened from inside. Test the locks annually. In the event of a fire, a window may be the only means to exit the home.
□ Watch for evidence of mold. Musty smells, black or white powdery or fuzzy growths and excessive moisture or condensation may indicate mold. Use vinegar and water, or borax and water, to clean and disinfect naturally.
□ Look for evidence of mice, rats and bugs inside your home in spring and fall. Treat as necessary.
Inspecting Stairs and Hallways
□ Inspect interior stairs annually. Bounce on the steps slightly to test strength. Pull on the railing to make sure it is secure. Check the flooring for slipping, frayed edges or tears.
□ Replace lighting over the stairs immediately after it burns out. Stairs can be one of the most dangerous places in the house.
□ Add nightlights along stairs or in hallways for nighttime safety.
Safety in the Bathroom
□ Do you have nonslip stickers or mats inside the bathtub or shower?
□ Is there a grab bar in the tub or shower and near the toilet? Pull on bars to test stability. The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the home, even for younger people, as the New York Times reports.
□ Check the floor for rotten areas, especially near the tub and toilet.
□ Keep a working nightlight near the bathroom entrance.
Kitchen Safety Precautions
□ Do you have lighting over the stove and sink? Replace burned-out lightbulbs immediately.
□ Is the stove in good condition? Are all the knobs present? Does each burner and the oven work? Have a qualified technician or local utility service worker inspect the stove if you have any concerns.
□ Clean the kitchen exhaust fan and change the filter annually, or more often as needed.
□ Keep curtains and flammable furnishings away from the stove area.
□ Never use any appliance that doesn’t work right. Unplug it immediately if it sparks, smokes, overheats, shocks you or alarms you in any manner. Replace the appliance or have a professional repair it before operating.
□ Clean the exterior of the refrigerator and freezer at least once a year, if not more often. Check the compartment temperatures with a thermometer.
□ Use child locks on cabinet doors, as needed, and keep hazardous objects out of the reach of children.
Plumbing and Water Inspections
□ Test well water yearly. Use a home test kit or send a sample to a commercial testing lab.
□ Keep your water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent burns.
□ Inspect your water heater every fall to maintain safe operating conditions. Consult a professional for assistance.
□ Inspect septic tanks yearly and have the tank evacuated approximately every one to three years, depending on the use load. Hire a qualified professional to evaluate your septic system. They will open access caps, if provided, to verify levels; conduct soil probe tests; run water and flush toilets to absorb seepage into surrounding lawn and other steps.
Electrical Systems Inspections
□ Test ground fault interrupter outlets annually. GFIs must be installed whenever you have an electrical outlet near water. Likely locations include the utility room, bathroom and kitchen.
□ Replace damaged electrical appliance and extension cords. Frayed and defective wiring and cords is a major cause of fires.
□ Move appliance cords and electrical extensions out of walkways. Never run them under carpets or rugs. Avoid pinching them in a door or under heavy objects.
□ Unwind long cords to prevent overheating in the coiled wires.
□ Many fires can be prevented with residential electrical inspections, performed every one to five years. Hire an electrician to perform one quickly and easily. They have special tools to test fuse and breaker boxes, wiring loads and spot potential problems.
Heating, Air-Conditioning and Fire Safety
□ Check the furnace every fall, before operating for the heating season. Note any failure to light, maintain a pilot light, and any strange smells or sounds. Consult a professional for help as necessary.
□ Test the air-conditioning system at the beginning of the cooling season. Turn off immediately if the appliance sounds, smells or operates strangely. Consult a professional for further help.
□ Inspect baseboard heaters, radiators and fireplaces in the fall. Clean appropriately to begin the heating season.
□ Clean or replace heating and cooling system filters at the beginning of each season.
□ Place and maintain smoke detectors according to local building code. A minimum of one per floor level, situated just outside bedroom doors, is recommended. Change the batteries every year. Plan this for your birthday to maintain consistency. Tip: Use the removed batteries for other, non-critical items around the house.
□ Use a carbon monoxide detector. Change the batteries yearly.
□ Clean your dryer vent every spring. Clogged dryer vents can lead to fires.
□ Inspect and clean your chimney every fall.
□ Useppans are encouraged to have a screen at the top of the chimney to prevent larger embers from escaping the fireplace.
Adapted from: http://www.realestate.com/advice/a-home-safety-inspection-checklist-for-homeowners-17978/
Home Safety Checklist
Residential Inspection Form
Useppa Island Fire & Rescue
Useppa Island, Florida
Address numbers and/or Cottage names are at least 3” tall and are visible from the street. YES NO N/A
Evidence of smoking material noted in outdoor landscape areas. YES NO N/A
All open flame cooking devices, such as charcoal grills, BBQs are 10 feet away from the house. YES NO N/A
Are the outdoor lights free from animal nesting material and vegetation? YES NO N/A
Steps and walkways are free from clutter and trip hazards. YES NO N/A
Use light bulbs that are appropriate wattage for their fixtures. YES NO N/A
Throw rugs and runners are secured so they don’t become trip hazards. YES NO N/A
Power cords are not run beneath rugs. YES NO N/A
Cover plates are on all electrical switches, outlets and supply panels. YES NO N/A
No holes noted in the ceiling or walls that could expose combustible wood or
allow fire spread into the attic or walls. YES NO N/A
Electrical fixtures are free from evidence of water leakage or damage through walls or ceilings. YES NO N/A
The family has a home escape plan. YES NO N/A
All family members know how to dial 911 and poison control center. YES NO N/A
All matches and lighters are kept out of reach of children. YES NO N/A
A CO detector is mounted near sleeping areas. YES NO N/A
Bedrooms in upper floors have quick access to escape ladders. YES NO N/A
Use night lights for paths most commonly traveled at night. YES NO N/A
A smoke detector is properly mounted outside of each sleeping area and on every level of the home. YES NO N/A
Smoke detectors are less than ten years old. YES NO N/A
Test smoke detectors monthly. YES NO N/A
Replace all smoke detector batteries at least every 6 months. YES NO N/A
Smoke detector is clean and dust free. YES NO N/A
All gasoline, flammable liquids, and hazardous chemicals are stored in appropriate
containers and away from ignition sources. YES NO N/A
Oily rags are kept in a closed metal container. YES NO N/A
Knox box present with current keys. YES NO N/A
Hot water heaters and furnaces have 3 ft. of clearance from any combustible items or objects. YES NO N/A
All flammable liquids and hazardous chemicals have been removed from the room. YES NO N/A
Furnace, hot water heater and air conditioner are recently serviced and in good repair. YES NO N/A
Circuit breakers or fuses in your service panel are of proper size/capacity for the service provided. YES NO N/A
Appliances are clean and in good condition (ie. Electrical cords, burner elements, switches, etc.). YES NO N/A
All dangerous chemicals are stored out of reach and sight of the children. YES NO N/A
A fire extinguisher is available in or near the room. Extinguisher should be “ABC” rated. YES NO N/A
Appliances are unplugged when not in use. YES NO N/A
Exhaust vent is clean of grease and debris. YES NO N/A
Tile or flooring is non-slip and free of trip hazards. YES NO N/A
Adjust hot water heater to a safe temperature—no higher than 120° F. YES NO N/A
Keep appliances such as hair dryers, radios and electric shavers away from water. YES NO N/A
Place non-skid mats or stickers in bathtubs and showers to lower the risk of slips and falls. YES NO N/A
Dangerous chemicals are safely stored away from children. YES NO N/A
LIVING ROOM & BEDROOMS:
Fireplaces and wood stoves have metal screens or doors to contain sparks and cinders. YES NO N/A
A metal container is used for removal and disposal of hot ashes. YES NO N/A
Only clean, dry wood should be used in fireplaces along with regular inspection and cleaning. YES NO N/A
Electric blankets should be untucked, unfolded and uncovered by other bedding. YES NO N/A
Extension cords are uncovered and in good repair. YES NO N/A
Electrical cords are clear of walkways and stairs. YES NO N/A
Outlets are not overloaded. YES NO N/A
Smoking materials or candles are extinguished before leaving or going to bed. YES NO N/A
Bedroom doors are closed while family sleeps? (This will help keep smoke/fire
out longer and increase your ability to escape alive. YES NO N/A
POOL & SPA:
If there is an in-ground pool, is there at least a 4-foot barrier with gaps of no more than 4 inches? YES NO N/A
If there is a door from the house that leads into an area with water, is there an exit
alarm or a lock located at least 54 inches above the floor? YES NO N/A
If there is a barrier around the pool, are large objects outside of the barrier (such as tables,
chairs or ladders) far enough away from the barrier to prevent children from using them to
climb over the barrier and into the pool area? YES NO N/A
If there is a gate into the area with water, is there a latch on the gate that closes automatically? YES NO N/A
Toys and objects that may attract children kept out of the water when not in use. YES NO N/A
Life saving devices are near the pool such as a hook, pole or flotation device. YES NO N/A
Pool chemicals are kept away from heat sources and out of the reach of children? YES NO N/A
Spa temperatures are less than 104°F. YES NO N/A
GUNS & GUN STORAGE:
All guns and ammunition are stored/locked out of sight and reach of children? YES NO N/A
Guns and ammunition are stored separately? YES NO N/A
Extra sprinkler heads and wrench on hand? YES NO N/A
Minimum 18” obstruction free area? YES NO N/A
Are valves readily accessible and free from obstruction? YES NO N/A
Sprinkler heads are appropriate and free from paint or plaster? YES NO N/A
System has been tested within the recommended time frame from the sprinkler
company (usually every year). YES NO N/A
Inspected by: ________________________________________________________Date: __________________________
Important Note: It would be prudent to have all services (visible and non-visible) including electrical wiring, plumbing and drainage etc checked by appropriately licensed contractors.