Basic Home Safety Instructions

These safety instructions are provided to assist you in identifying safety hazards in your home. You are responsible for correcting any hazards identified.

Click here for a printable PDF

General Safety

• Keep in touch with others. If you live alone, ask a neighbor, friend or family member to check on you each day.
• Get up slowly. Because of certain changes in blood circulation, it is best to get up from a chair or bed slowly and to turn your head slowly to avoid dizziness.
• Don’t hurry. Many accidents happen because people try to do things too quickly. Take time to be safe.
• Carrying objects—Make sure your view isn’t blocked. Get a firm grip. Lift with your legs (knees bent, back straight), and walk slowly. Get help for heavy or awkward objects.
• Use a solid step stool or ladder, not a chair or box if you must climb to reach a high place.
• Check hot water temperatures to prevent burns. Experts suggest setting hot water at 100 degrees (F) or cooler.

Environmental Safety

• Remove throw rugs whenever possible to avoid tripping.
• If you can’t remove throw rugs, use rugs with non-skid backing to avoid slipping.
• Repair or replace torn carpeting to avoid tripping.
• Make the transition between types of flooring as even as possible and secure to prevent slipping.
• Don’t walk on freshly washed or waxed floors until they are dry.
• Wipe up spills immediately
• Avoid wearing socks, smooth-soled shoes or slippers on uncarpeted floors.
• Mark sliding glass doors with stickers to prevent someone from walking through.

• Make sure handrails are well anchored on both sides of the stairway.
• Non-skid treads can be placed on wooden stairs to prevent slipping.
• Make sure carpeting is secure.

Furniture Layout
• Arrange furniture so that pathways are not cluttered.
• Chairs/tables need to be sturdy and stable enough to support a person leaning on them.
• Pad furniture with sharp edges and corners.

• Be sure that your lighting is ample to prevent falls and to assure that you can read medication labels and instructions easily.
• Good lighting in hallways, stairs, and bathrooms is important.

Bathroom Safety

• Install skid-resistant strips or a rubber mat.
• Use a bath seat if it is too difficult to stand during a shower or to get out of the tub.
• Install grab bars on the side of the tub or shower for balance.
• DO NOT use the soap dish or towel bars for balance—these can pull out of the wall.

• Use an elevated toilet seat or commode if you need support getting on and off the toilet or you are not able to bend your hip normally after surgery.
• Install grab bars around the toilet if you need more leverage to get off the toilet.

• Avoid locking the bathroom doors or use only locks that can be opened from both sides when you may need assistance in the bathroom.

Kitchen Safety

• Mark “ON” and “OFF” positions clearly on the dials on the stove.
• Use front burners of the stove to avoid reaching over burners. If there are children in the home, use back burners.
• Make sure pan/pot handles are not over other burners or over the edge of the stove.
• Do not wear loose or dangling sleeves while cooking—they could easily catch fire.

Electrical Safety

• Keep appliances away from water. Dropping water on an appliance or dropping the appliance into water (sink, tub, etc.) can cause electrocution.
• Use only appliances in good repair. Don’t use lamps or appliances that appear to have a “short” when operated.
• Inspect cords. Don’t use appliances with cords that are frayed or have wires exposed.
• Grounded plugs. Use grounded plugs or 3-prong adapters for medical equipment.
• Proper use of extension cords. Keep cords out of pathways to avoid excessive wear and prevent tripping. Do not overload outlets.

Medical Equipment Safety – Oxygen

• No smoking while oxygen is in use.
• Do not permit oil, grease, or other combustible materials to come in contact with oxygen equipment.
• Transport cylinders in proper carrier, and secure cylinders to prevent falling.
• Keep cylinders/concentrator in well-ventilated areas, (no closets)—avoid extreme heat.
• Avoid use of electrical appliances (razors, hair dryers, etc.) while oxygen is in use. Any electrical equipment in use near an oxygen system must be properly grounded with three pronged plugs.
• Make sure you properly assemble and test oxygen equipment before use.
• Set flow meter to the prescribed rate per your physician’s orders.
• Make sure you have an adequate back-up supply of oxygen in case of emergencies and/or evacuation.
Medical Equipment Safety – Durable Medical Equipment
• Follow manufacturer/supplier instructions
• Refer to supplier for any questions

Medication Safety

• Medications should be removed from storage only at administration times, and kept out of the reach of children, pets, and/or confused individuals.
• Store refrigerated drugs in a covered box, if available, inside the refrigerator, out of casual reach.
• Drugs labeled “For external use only” are kept separate from internal drugs.
• Store each individual family member’s drugs separately to avoid mix-ups.
• Do not take prescription drugs prescribed for another person.
• Do not keep drugs on windowsills or other surfaces where there is extreme exposure to light or heat.
• Refill prescription medications several days before you use the last dose in the container.
• Check medication expiration dates and discard any that have expired, by flushing them down the toilet.
• Do not “catch-up” doses if you miss taking a dose of your medicine. Ask your nurse or doctor what you should do.
• Dispose of contaminated/soiled materials by placing them in a plastic bag and sealing the bag before throwing it away.