We begin every year with the same resolution: to help people and their loved ones stay safe. To keep that promise, we’ve come up with a month-by-month home maintenance and safety checklist. If you only have time for one or two safety tips from each category every month, choose those with the most SafeWise owls because we ranked each task by priority—one owl signifying the lowest and five the most important. Start the year off safer by implementing these tips in and around your home.
Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectorsby holding the “test” button until you hear the loud siren. If it’s silent, replace the batteries or purchase a new detector.
Inspect your fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge to see if the needle is in the green and replace or service it if it’s outside this zone. Also, examine the hose and nozzle for cracks because you’ll need to replace your fire extinguisher if the locking pin on the handle is missing or the handle is broken.
Create an emergency plan and practice different escape routes with your family.
Store flashlights with fresh batteries in every room in case a winter storm knocks out your power.
Compile or update your home inventory in case you need to file an insurance claim because of a blizzard or burglary.
Organize your closets and donate items your family has outgrown or doesn’t use.
Compile one file where you store instruction manuals, serial numbers, and important receipts, so you can access the information easily if something under warranty breaks or you need to fix a broken appliance.
Post a safety resource contact sheet on your refrigerator that includes phone numbers for your doctors, police and fire departments, poison control, and emergency contacts. Accessing this information quickly in an emergency is vital to your safety.
Check your range hood fan for signs up grease build up (which could cause a fire) and clean it regularly to keep it running and performing properly.
Change refrigerator water and ice-maker filters every six months to remove contaminants that build up.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils to remove dust and grime that could otherwise spark a fire.
Deep clean your stove top and oven to prevent grease or oven fires.
Clean your garbage disposal with baking soda, white vinegar, hot water, ice, and a lemon or lime to keep it fresh and clean.
Clean and polishkitchen cabinets to remove any food or drink spills that have accumulated over the holidays. If you notice any loose handles, knobs, racks, tighten those up too.