Safety in the Home

Escaping a Fire

The following tips are designed to help you escape injury and harm in the event that your home catches fire.

Plan Your Escape: 

  • Know exactly what to do and where to go in case of fire. Every second counts and having a plan can save you precious time in the event of a fire.

Know Two Ways Out  

  • The best-made plans often go astray. Know two ways out of every room in your house or apartment in case smoke or the flames block one exit. Include all hallways and stairs in your escape plan.

In an Apartment 

  • Be able to unlock a deadbolt lock quickly and easily. Know how to get to the exit stairs and never use an elevator.

In a One or Two-Story House

  • Make sure you can unlock and open all windows. If you are escaping from a second story, be sure you have a safe way to the ground. If you have difficulty with stairs, you may be better off sleeping in a first-floor bedroom.

If You are Trapped

  • Close doors between you and smoke. Stuff cracks and cover vents to keep smoke out. Place a wet cloth over your nose and wait at the window signaling with a sheet or flashlight. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department (or 911) and tell them exactly where you are. 

Test the Door

  • Carefully place your hand near the door.  If hot, use your second way out.  If not, brace your shoulder against the door and open it carefully, being ready to close it if heat or smoke rush in.

Get Down, Stay Low 

  • Smoke rises while clean air stays low, near the floor. Crawl, maintaining contact with the walls as you go to your nearest exit. 

 A Few Other Suggestions to Protect Yourself 

  • Do not overload outlets.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level in your home. Check alarms, according to manufacturer's directions, at least once a month, and change batteries at least once a year. Sleep with your door closed, your phone and glasses nearby. Make sure that you can hear the smoke alarm.
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from everything, including yourself. A slight brush against a heater could start a clothing fire.
  • Be smoker wary. Have large, deep ashtrays around your home or forbid people from smoking inside. Check cushions for dropped matches or cigarettes. Never smoke in bed or while on medication.
  • It is mandatory that one does not smoke near or while using oxygen. Agency team members have seen the terrible results of patients smoking while using oxygen.
  • Wear tight-fitting sleeves while you cook. Use a timer so you do not forget to turn off the burners or the oven. Make sure all of your appliances are in good condition and replace worn cords or plugs.
  • Keep doors locked at all times and do not open your door to unidentified strangers.

  • Keep valuables out of sight.

Disposal Tips for Sharp & Contaminated Materials

You can help prevent injury, illness and pollution by following some simple steps when you dispose of the sharp objects and contaminated materials used in administering health care in your home. You should place the following in a hard-plastic or metal container with a screw-on or tightly secured lid: Needles, Syringes, Lancets, Other Sharp Objects.

Many containers found in the household will do, or you may purchase containers specifically designed for the disposal of medical waste sharps. Before discarding a container be sure to reinforce the lid with heavy-duty tape. Do not put sharp objects in any container you plan to recycle or return to a store, and do not use glass or clear plastic containers. Finally, make sure that you keep all containers with sharp objects out of the reach of children and pets.

We also recommend that the following items be placed in securely fastened plastic bags before you put them in the garbage can (double bag) with your other trash: Soiled bandages, Disposable sheets, Medical gloves.

Hand Washing
Hand washing is the single most important aspect of infection control. Always wash your hands before and after touching wounds, anytime your hands are visibly soiled and after touching sources that are likely to be contaminated with micro organisms. Hand washing is essential before and after eating, drinking, smoking and using the restroom facilities.

Recent research indicates waterless hand cleaners are as effective or more effective than soap and water. HomeCare team members are encouraged to use waterless hand cleaners.

Preventing Falls
If you are sick or have trouble getting around, you may be more apt to fall. Falls are a major cause of broken hips and other severe injuries. When it comes to falls, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

To prevent falls:

  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles. Do not walk in only your socks or in slippers with slippery bottoms.
  • Do not wear clothes that are too loose or long. You might trip on them.
  • When getting out of bed or out of an easy chair, get up slowly. Dangle your legs first. Give your body a chance to adjust to the new position.
  • If you feel dizzy, immediately sit or lay down. Get yourself into a safe position.
  • Lock wheelchairs before getting in and out.
  • Use your walker or cane as recommended by your doctor or therapist.
  • Use sturdy chairs with arms so you can balance yourself while getting up and down.
  • Do not climb on chairs or boxes.
  • Be sure you are stable before you reach or bend.
  • Strategically place furniture for support.
  • Use side rails on bed.
  • Know medications that may impair mobility.

To prevent falls in the dark:

  • Keep a nightlight on in hallways, in the bedroom and in the bathroom.
  • Keep a light close to your bed and turn it on before getting out of bed in the dark.
  • Turn on lights before going into a dark room.
  • Make sure stairs are well-lighted and the edges of each stair can be easily seen.

To prevent falls in the bathroom:

  • Put a rubber bath mat or non slip strips in your bath or shower.
  • Use a shower bench and a removable shower head with an extension hose.
  • Buy soap on a rope so it will not slip from your hands.
  • Step onto rubber-backed floor mats after a bath or shower to prevent slips.
  • After a bath, sit on the commode or a chair to dry yourself.
  • Install grab bars by the bath shower and by the commode.
  • Obtain a raised toilet seat for the commode.

To prevent falls while walking:

  • Lift feet when walking.
  • Be sure railings on staircases are sturdy.
  • Keep walking areas clear of cords or things that could cause you to trip.
  • Remove all throw rugs so you do not slip on them.
  • Repair uneven floor surfaces, such as warped floorboards. Tack down carpet edges and flatten carpet buckles so you do not trip on them.
  • Wipe up any spills right away.
  • Do not wax floors. Waxing can make floors too slippery. It can also cause glare, making it hard
    to see.
  • Watch thresholds at doorways.

To prevent falls on stairs:

  • Install and check hand rails.
  • Keep clear of clutter or obstacles.
  • Have adequate lighting.
  • Use non-skid treads on steps.