When we think survival, we picture someone out in the wilderness in a pine tree lean-to, but we spend most of our time in our home and it’s easy to overlook what we can do to make that environment safer. It is far more likely, in fact a given, that you will experience one of the accidents or emergencies listed in this section.
When I research, I find statistics that are all over the place because people can’t agree on definitions. Once more, those statistics are variables that differ from home to home, so I won’t quote many (those of you with pocket protectors and calculators can google them) but let’s do an Area Study for your home in terms of the most likely areas of concern.
- Falls are a leading cause of injury and death. This is more likely based on the previous part of the Area Study: your personal physical condition. Older people, naturally, are more susceptible to falls and getting injured. One in three people, 65 or older, will suffer a fall leading to serious injury, if not death.
- Poisoning goes in the opposite direction for susceptibility: it is more likely for children to be seriously hurt or killed by ingesting a toxic agent.
- Children are also susceptible to choking, suffocation, drowning and scalding. This includes airway obstruction.
- Water leads to drowning. Do you have a pool? Water nearby?
- Fires and burns are likely dangers.
To prevent falls
Clear clutter. Pick things up and put them away. How many times have we tripped over something that doesn’t belong on the floor?
Look at your rugs. Are the edges secured? Are folds flattened? Do they slide? Use tape and rug mats underneath to prevent this.
Bathroom: place grab bars and non-slip maps in all bathrooms. The bathroom is very dangerous because water and soap makes things slippery; and if you do fall you’re going to hit something hard like a counter or tile floor. We never land on the fluffy pile of freshly laundered towels, do we?
Lighting: make sure all areas are sufficiently lit, particularly staircases. When we lived in a 100 year old house, a back stairwell didn’t have a light in it. The stairs also turned near the bottom. We bought a number of motion sensor, battery powered lights and put them in that stairwell and all over the house. Often we placed them just as you enter a room, inside the door jam or on the wall, low down. They have been life-savers.
Always wear slippers or shoes with rubber soles. I can attest to the danger of just socks on wooden stairs. Never a good combination.
Make your stairs safe. If you have small children or they visit, become an expert at installing childproof gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Have handrails for all stairs.
Use ladders properly and do not exceed specifications. Always place on solid footing. Have someone hold taller ladders at bottom when in use. Make sure leaning ladders are placed against a solid point.
Mild: Fall Prevention Checklist
Secure edges of all rugs
Secure rugs to floors so they don’t bunch or slide
Place grab bars and non-slip mats in bathrooms
Make sure all stairways and dark areas are adequately lit
AMIR motion sensor light: https://amzn.to/2LwlkKY
Wear Slippers or shoes with rubber bottoms at all times
Childproof stairs with gates at top and bottom
Do all stairs have handrails?
Use ladders properly according to specifications