Safety is something that we can never afford to get complacent about – it requires our constant diligence. It is important no matter where we are – at home, at the office, traveling, at the game, shopping, at a restaurant, jogging, playing golf or tennis, walking the dog, or anywhere else.
The first place to focus on safety and remaining safe is at home – the place where we spend so much of our time and the place that is our mainstay. Even when we are away from home, we long to return there to the relative safety it provides. In the world away from our home base, there are many uncertainties that we must deal with as we navigate our way and avoid injuries. Our home is familiar to us, offers us sanctuary, and should be a safe haven for us when we return to it. However, that safety is not guaranteed. We must be vigilant.
Safety begins with the general design of our homes, and then it evolves through function in the way that we use our homes. Some home are going to provide much more safe conditions than others due to their layout and features. Based on the lighting, flooring, doorways, passageways, steps, appliances, and fixtures, some homes are going to present fewer challenges for their occupants and thus are going to be safer to live in and more enjoyable.
Many people have had houseguests over the past couple of weeks to help them celebrate the holidays, and this will continue for the next couple of weeks as well. These visitors may have been overnight guests – people visiting from outside the area or adult children and their families returning home to visit their parents. They also could have been, or will be, people stopping by for dinner, drinks, a reception, get-togethers, or just to ring out the old year and ring in the new one with their friends or neighbors.
During this time, people (those living in the homes as well as their visitors and guests) either have an easy time or found issues with gaining access into the home (parking in driveway and getting out of their car, walking up the sidewalk to the entrance, climbing the entrance steps, arriving at the stoop or porch and waiting there to gain access to the home, and dealing with the width and swing of the entry door), navigating the inside of home and finding the switches, controls, appliances, bathroom, kitchen, and other areas of the home they needed to use within their reach and ability. This points back to safety – for the occupants and their guests who both expect that home they have entered to be reasonable safe for them.
This is why this time of year is a great time to evaluate the safety in a home and take steps to remedy conditions that are hindering the effective and functional use of a home.
As people have found their homes to present challenges and some degree of difficulty for their visitors or themselves to function within their homes, the need for improvements should have become apparent to them. They may not know what needs to be done to remedy issues that have surfaced, and this is how we can help them – both in identifying the deficiencies and in creating a plan to improve them. This is the time to begin exploring any issues that people may have recognized or experienced during this time of year. Some of them may be carry-over concerns from previous years that were never addressed or forgotten about until now when more people have been present in their home.
Another aspect of safety at this time of year concerns our personal health and those of our guests within our homes – using outdated or expired products, especially foodstuffs. This is the ideal time to have our clients check the expiration dates on things that they might have sitting on shelves in their cupboards, pantry, medicine cabinets, and supply closets. Anything with has a “use by” or “best by” date on it of anytime in 2018 (regardless of the day or month) is now past its prime and time to discard it. This will help people reduce clutter and storage also by eliminating items they definitely do not need to retain, and it will avoid accidently serving or preparing something that isn’t as fresh as it could be or possibly even unhealthy to consume.
Safety at home has many aspects to it. In order to remain safe, we have to remain alert to all of the dangers that can be present and work to make sure they don’t pose any issues to us or our guests.