Skip the boring New Year’s resolution list this year. Instead, focus on keeping your home safe all year long. Whether it’s a routine safety check or an annual task, this checklist can help you keep track of progress throughout the year.

Annual checks

  • Inspect your water heater. It should never be set higher than 120° and needs to be safely away from the reach of children and anything flammable.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.
  • Clean out the air vents for dirt, dust and grime.

Monthly checks

  • Test smoke detectors every month. If it doesn’t respond, call an electrician to replace it.

Occasional checks

  • Be on the lookout for frayed cords and wires. If you see any, be sure to replace them immediately. If there is any damage, a professional electrician needs to safely replace them as needed.
  • Be wary of overloaded extension cords. When in doubt, move cords to different outlets.
  • Feel your outlets and plugs. If any of them are warm, there might be a serious electrical problem. Call a professional electrician for a safety consult.

Family First

  • Decide on a family emergency plan – This includes emergency numbers such as a close neighbor, your family care provider and poison control as well as an evacuation plan. Be sure the whole family knows what to do in case of emergency. Agree on a safe meet-up place near the home and run through a practice drill twice a year.
  • Baby-proof your home – You may or may not have a small child roaming the home but baby-proofing allows you to look at your house from a safer perspective. Make sure all sharp corners are protected, knives are out of reach and nothing electrical is easily grabbed. There are a lot of potential electric safety concerns you won’t be able to identify, so ask a professional electrician to do a safety check just in case.

Per the 2008 National Electric Code, outlets should be tamper-resistant to protect your family. Once installed by a professional electrician, they can prevent stray fingers going into the outlets better than traditional plastic coverings. These outlets have spring-loaded shutters so each has to be triggered at the same time to open.

Regular check-ups of all your home’s systems can keep you and your family safe. Consult with a professional electrician to ensure all of your wiring is safe and in working order at least once a year.

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