Falls account for MORE THAN HALF of all the injuries in the home and half of these will result in hospitalization. This checklist will help you inspect your home for hazards that could lead to a fall.

As you go through the checklist you will receive tips on making your home safer. At the end of the checklist, you will also get a summary of your home safety recommendations.

 

Kitchen

Keep doing balance and strength exercises so you can stay on your feet and continue to be independent at home (including getting in and out of your bed and reaching for items in your kitchen cupboard). For additional exercise ideas visit www.preventfalls.ca

Can you reach the kitchen items that you use often without climbing, bending or upsetting your balance?

That’s really great! By arranging the kitchen so that pots and pans, canned goods and staple foods are stored in an easy–to–reach location (between knee and shoulder height) you are helping to prevent a fall. Store light items higher up and heavy items in lower cupboards. Ask for help or use a stable step stool with a safety rail if you need to reach high places.

A well-organized kitchen can help you prevent a fall. Store light items higher up and heavy items in lower cupboards. Keep your pots and pans, canned goods and staple foods in an easy–to–reach location (between knee and shoulder height). Ask for help or use a stable step stool with a safety rail if you need to reach high places.

Do you keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains) away from your stovetop?

By keeping anything that can catch fire like oven mitts, pot holders, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from your stovetop, you are helping to prevent fires and burns. Wear tops with tight fitting or short sleeves when cooking. Use heat-resistant oven mitts rather than potholders as they provide a better grip on hot containers and better protection against splatters and steam.

Prevent fires and burns by keeping anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, pot holders, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains) away from your stovetop. Use heat-resistant oven mitts rather than potholders as they provide a better grip on hot containers and better protection against splatters and steam. Wear tops with tight fitting or short sleeves when cooking.

Do you stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food?

Great! Did you know that most residential fires start in the kitchen? By always staying in the kitchen when cooking, you can prevent a fire or respond early if something does ignite. It is also wise to avoid cooking if you are feeling sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.

Did you know that most residential fires start in the kitchen? While any type of food can cause a fire, fats and oils are especially flammable. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Avoid cooking if you are feeling sleepy; have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy. Keep young children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot food is being prepared or carried.   Use the elements at the back of the stove top. Turn pot handles inward toward the back of the stove so they can’t be reached by a young child.

Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of fire?

Good! Keeping a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen (but away from the stove or cooking surfaces) and knowing how to operate it properly, will help you put out a fire quickly. Check your fire extinguisher according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure it will work when you need it.

Most residential fires start in the kitchen. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and learn how to operate it properly so you can quickly put out a fire. Fire extinguishers should be wall-mounted (out of the normal reach of children) in or near the kitchen, but away from the stove or cooking surfaces. Check your fire extinguisher according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure it will work when you need it.

Bathroom

Is your hot water temperature set to the recommended 49°C (120°F)?

Great! By setting your hot water temperature to 49°C (120°F) and installing anti-scald devices on sink spouts, bathtub spouts and showerheads, you can prevent burns and scalds.

Set your hot water temperature to 49°C (120°F) to help prevent burns and scalds. Install anti-scald devices on sink spouts, bathtub spouts and showerheads. Install a thermostatic mixing valve in your water line. If you live in an apartment or other rental accommodations, speak to your property manager or landlord about lowering the water temperature to 49°C (120°F).

Are all medications clearly marked and stored in a well lit area so you can clearly read labels and know which medications you are taking? If children visit the home, are all medications kept out of reach?

Well done! By making sure all medications are clearly marked and are stored in a well lit area, you can identify which ones you are taking safely. Also, people often keep medication in their handbags, so purses should be kept out of children’s reach.

Make sure all medications are clearly marked and are stored in a well lit area so you can identify which ones you are taking safely. People often keep medication in their handbags, so purses should be kept out of children’s reach.

Do you use non-slip mats or adhesive strips or decals in your tub and have at least one secure grab bar in your bathroom?

That’s really good! You are reducing your chance of a fall by using non-skid mats, abrasive strips, or slip-resistant surfaces in bathtubs and showers that have at least one secure grab bar.

Each year many people are injured in the bathroom when they slip and fall. Keep yourself safe by using a non-slip tub mat or slip-resistant adhesive strips or decals. Have at least one secure grab bar. A towel rack is not secure and should not be used for support.

Can you get on and off the toilet seat easily?

Great! If you have difficulty in the future, you can use a raised toilet seat or higher toilet and install grab bars to assist you.

 

There are several products that can make the toilet easier and safer for you to use. Higher toilets or raised toilet seats make it easier to sit down and get up again. Installed grab bars can provide secure support to help you get up safely. Look for raised toilet seats and grab bars in home building supply stores. Do not use a towel rack to support you.

Do you have your soap, shampoo and towel within easy reach so you don’t have to bend or reach too far?

Great! Using a shower organizer to store your soap and shampoo within easy reach helps you avoid falling while you are bathing.

If you have to bend or reach while in the shower you could fall. Use a shower organizer to help store your soap and shampoo in one easy-to-reach spot.

Bedroom

Ask for help if you need it. Contact the Home Care Intake Line at 204-788-8330 for services including: Personal Care Nursing; Counseling/Problem Solving; Household Assistance; Respite/Family Relief; Occupation Therapy Assessment; Physiotherapy Assessment; and Referral to other agencies.

Are you able to turn on a light easily before you get out of bed?

Great! If you get up at night be sure to turn your light on at night to light the way from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Make sure you have a lamp, light switch or flashlight within reach of the bed so you can light the way from the bedroom to the bathroom at night. Use night lights or other sources of light within reach in case you get up in the middle of the night.

Can you easily get in and out of your bed?

That’s great! Speak with an occupational therapist or home medical supply store employee about safe ways of getting in and out of bed if you do experience challenges in the future.  Make sure your bed is not too high or low so that it is easy to get in and out of it.

Speak with an occupational therapist or home medical supply store employee about safe ways of getting in and out of bed. Your bed may need to be adjusted if it is too high or low for you. If you use a walker or cane, keep it near your bed so you can use it for support.

Is there a clear, well-lit path from the bedroom to the bathroom?

Perfect! By keeping a clear, well-lit path from the bedroom to the bathroom you are reducing your chances of a fall. Keep a flashlight by the bedside to light the way to the bathroom. Keep floors clear of clutter to prevent tripping.

At night, people can easily trip over clutter or furniture on their way to the bathroom. Keep floors and hallways clutter free and use nightlights along the path from the bedroom to the bathroom. Keep a flashlight by the bedside to light the way to the bathroom.

Can you reach your walking aid and eyeglasses before you get out of bed?

Great! By keeping a walking aid and eyeglasses within easy reach of your bed you can get out of bed more safely.

It is important to have your walking aid and eyeglasses close to your bed so you can use them to support you as you get up.

Do you have a smoke alarm in your bedroom?

Great! By installing smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area you will be alerted early and able to escape in case of fire.

Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area so you will be alerted early and able to escape in case of fire. Have a telephone near your bed in case you are trapped by smoke or fire.

Do you avoid burning candles in the bedroom?

That’s really good. One-third of home candle fires started in the bedroom. Not using candles on or around your bed will keep you safe. If you do burn candles in other parts of your home, blow out all candles when you leave the room. Candles should be at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

One-third of home candle fires started in the bedroom. Don’t use candles on or around your bed or in other areas where people may fall asleep. If you do burn candles, blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Candles should be at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Keep open flames and heat sources away from bedding and curtains.

Do you smoke in bed?

Do not smoke in bed or lying down, especially if you are drowsy, medicated or have been drinking alcohol. Many fatal house fires start when someone falls asleep while smoking. If you smoke, smoke outside. Put butts out in an ashtray and soak them in water before throwing them out. Never smoke if oxygen is used in the home.

That’s really good. By choosing not to smoke in bed you are ruling out a common cause of house fires. If you do smoke, the safest place to do it is outdoors.

Do you use an electric blanket?

Electric blankets can cause contact burns and lead to fire. Use the blanket to warm your bed up and then shut it off for the night. Never sleep with your electric blanket turned on. Check your electric blanket for damage or wear and tear before using it each winter and check again each time you change the sheets. Avoid having beverages or sources of water (such as hot water bottle) around the electric blanket as this could cause a shock.

That’s good. Electric blankets put the user at risk of fires, burns and electrical shock. By not using one you have removed these risks.

Do you have a telephone next to your bed?

That is great! Keeping a telephone at your bedside with emergency contact numbers will help you call for help when you need to.

Keeping a telephone at your bedside with emergency contacts will help you call for help when you need to. If you do not have a phone jack in your bedroom, use a cordless or mobile phone.

Steps and Stairways

Are your stairways well lit?

That’s really good. Light switches that are located at both the top and bottom of the stairs will help you see each step and prevent a fall.

Install a light switch at the top and bottom of each stairway so you are never using the stairs in the dark. Keep a flashlight near the stairs to help you see at night and during emergencies.

Do you have a sturdy handrail on both sides of the stairs?

Very good! Using the stairs becomes safer when they have solidly mounted hand­rails that run continuously along the full length of the stairs on both sides.

Install hand rails on both sides of the stairway. Have a professional install them to ensure they are the correct height and properly secured. Place non-slip treads on wood and laminate stairs.

Are floor coverings on stairs in good condition?

Great! Making sure all steps are in good condition and have even surfaces that could pose a tripping hazard, helps prevent a fall. Be sure to remove, fix or replace any floor covering that becomes torn, damaged or loose.

Ensure that your flooring is in good condition and all carpets or runners are firmly attached. Ragged carpet or loose tiles and flooring should be removed or replaced. If your stairs squeak, bend or feel loose when you walk on them, call a professional to inspect them and make any necessary repairs.

Are your stairways free of clutter?

Great! When you keep your stairs free of clutter you are preventing a tripping hazard. When you are carrying items on stairways, don’t overload yourself. Only carry what you can safely manage and make sure that your vision isn’t blocked.

Keep stairway and steps free of clutter. When you are carrying items on stairways, don’t overload yourself. Only carry what you can safely manage and make sure that your vision isn’t blocked.

Are the edges of the stairs clearly marked?

That’s really good! Being able to see the edges of your stairs will reduce the risk of injury from falls. Remove your reading glasses and take your time when using the stairs.

Remove your reading glasses when you climb up and or down stairs and take your time when using the stairs. To avoid missteps on basement, deck or outdoor stairs, mark the edge with contrasting paint and use non-slip adhesive tread with yellow and or white paint. Hardware stores sell adhesive non-slip tread.

Floors

Have you removed all throw rugs and loose mats?

Great! Removing rugs is the safest option.

Rugs and mats are tripping hazards. The safest choice is to remove all rugs and mats. If you feel that you need your rugs, be sure to secure rugs to the floor using double-sided tape or a non-slip backing.

Do your carpets lie flat without wrinkles or curled edges?

That’s great! It sounds like your carpets are in good condition.

Your carpets may be putting you at risk for a fall. A carpet installer can stretch out wrinkled carpets and secure the edges.

Are floors free of electrical cords, furniture, clutter and other objects that could cause you to trip, especially in the event of an emergency or fire?

Excellent! Making sure floors are free of clutter and obstacles and re-arranging furniture can help you prevent a fall. Having clear pathways to entrances will allow you to get out of the home quickly in an emergency.

Keep yourself safe by keeping all floors free of clutter and obstacles. Having clear pathways to entrances will allow you to get out of the home quickly in an emergency.

Do you clean up floor spills immediately?

Good! By wiping up spills as soon as they occur, you have reduced your chance of falling. Keep a mop in a nearby closet or room to help you clean up a spill right away.

Wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Keep a mop in a nearby closet or room to help you clean up a spill right away. Some floor surfaces are particularly slippery when wet.

Do you use a rubber backed bath mat near the sink and tub?

That’s really great! A rubber backed bath mat near the sink and the tub will help prevent slips and falls when you are bathing and showering.

Falls in the bathroom are quite common. Use a rubber backed bath mat near the sink and the tub while bathing and showering.

Lighting in All Rooms

Are there light switches at both ends of the hallway?

Great! Good lighting in the hallway can reduce your chance of falling.

Make sure hallways have lighting that is bright enough for you to see clearly. Nightlights are an inexpensive way to provide light to dark hallways.

Are your bathroom lights bright enough for you to see clearly and is there good lighting where you keep medications?

Very good! A brightly lit bathroom can help you avoid falling or errors when reading medication labels. Replace burned out light bulbs as soon as you can and ask for help if the bulb is high up or difficult to reach.

Inadequate lighting can lead to falls and errors when reading medications. Make sure lighting is bright enough for you to clearly read labels on medication bottles. Replace burned out light bulbs as soon as you can and ask for help if the bulb is high up or difficult to reach.

Do you have a flashlight that is easily accessible?

Perfect! By keeping a flashlight with fresh batteries nearby you are prepared in case of a power outage.

Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries nearby in case of a power outage. Sudden darkness puts you at risk of tripping.

Outside Your Home

Are the edges of your steps clearly marked?

That’s really great! Making sure steps are well lit and stair edges are easily seen is safer for you and visitors.

Make sure your outside steps are well lit. Paint step edges a contrasting colour so they can easily be seen.

Are step surfaces or treads slip resistant?

Perfect! By using a slip resistant and rough finish on treads you have made your steps safer for yourself and visitors.

Use a slip-resistant, rough finish on treads.

Do steps have a sturdy, easy-to-grip handrail?

Very good! Installing a sturdy handrail along both sides of the steps and around decks according to building regulations will help prevent falls.

Install a sturdy handrail along both sides of the steps and around decks according to building regulations to help prevent falls.

Are the sidewalks, driveway and decks around your home in good repair?

Great! Keeping sidewalks, driveways and decks around your home slip and trip resistant, free of leaves, ice and snow and well lit will help prevent a slip and fall.

Keep sidewalks, driveways and decks around your home slip and trip resistant, free of leaves, ice and snow and well lit. Use ice melt in winter.

Are chemical and flammable materials properly stored?

Great! By keeping all chemicals such as bleach, cleaners and paint thinners clearly identified, out of reach, safely stored and away from sources of heat and flame, you are avoiding spills that could lead to a fall and the potential for a residential fire.

Keep floors clear from chemicals such as bleach, cleaners and paint thinners to prevent spills that could lead to a fall. Ensure flammable materials are stored as indicated by the directions on the label and away from sources of heat and flame to help prevent a  residential fire.

Is the yard kept free of tripping hazards (rakes, hoses)?

Perfect! You are helping to create a yard that is safe to walk around.

Store your garden tools in a shed or garage, use a hose reel to store your garden hose and keep your garden free of other hazards.

Are the public areas around your house in good repair?

Great! If you do notice hazards in your community such as uneven sidewalks, uncovered drains or broken curbs, call your local municipality or the private business responsible to report hazards (in Winnipeg call 311).

Great! Report hazards in your community to prevent you and others from falling. These include uneven sidewalks, uncovered drains or broken curbs. Call your local municipality or the private business responsible to report hazards (in Winnipeg call 311).

General

Looking for information on health services available in Winnipeg? Visit the Health Services Directory Online, a searchable listing of health services, programs and organizations in the Winnipeg health region.  A condensed version of this Health Services Directory can be accessed by clicking here.

Do you have smoke alarms on every floor of your home and do you test them monthly?

That’s really great! If you ever need assistance, you can call your local fire station for advice on where to install smoke alarms. You can also receive assistance with installation for older adults and people with disabilities.

Test the alarms monthly. Have smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. If someone in your home has a hearing impairment consider using a certified alarm system strobe light.  Change the batteries once a year. Replace the alarm every 10 years.

Do you use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home?

Well done! When CO alarms are installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, you are taking action to stay safe from CO poisoning. Be sure to test CO alarms at least once a month and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If your CO detector alarms you MUST REACT. Do not ignore your alarm. If you or any members of your household experience symptoms of CO poisoning: 1) Leave the house immediately; and 2) call 911. If no one in the house is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning: 1) Open all doors and windows; 2) Turn off the fuel-burning equipment; and 3) Call Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-MB HYDRO for an emergency inspection.

A CO detector can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide gas which is colourless and odourless. An approved and certified CO detector that is properly installed can help save the lives of your family members. CO alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. After installed, test CO alarms at least once a month and replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If your CO detector alarms you MUST REACT. Do not ignore your alarm. If you or any members of your household experience symptoms of CO poisoning: 1) Leave the house immediately; and 2) call 911. If no one in the house is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning: 1) Open all doors and windows; 2) Turn off the fuel-burning equipment; and 3) Call Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-MB HYDRO for an emergency inspection. A licensed electrician can install hard-wired interconnected CO alarms, or homeowners can install wireless alarms, plug-in alarms, or battery operated alarms.

Have you developed and practiced your fire escape plan with your family within the last 6 months?

That’s great! Did you know you may have as little as two minutes to escape your home safely from a fire? An escape plan can reduce the amount of time required for you and your family to get out safely and can improve your chances of surviving a fire or similar emergency. If you live in a senior’s residence, check for fire escape plan procedures.

Plan and practice your escape from fire and smoke. If possible, plan two ways out of every room and two ways out of your home. Make sure windows and doors open easily. If you live in an apartment building never use the elevator. Use the stairwell to exit the building. If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

Do you have a list of emergency telephone numbers located near your phone?

Great work! Make certain that telephone numbers are readily available for the Police, Fire Department, and the Manitoba Poison Control Center (1-855-776-4766 or 1-855-7POISON) along with numbers for your doctor(s) and a trusted neighbor or family member. If you have difficulty seeing the numbers on a regular telephone, use a Big Button cordless phone available at your local store.

Make certain that telephone numbers are readily available for the Police, Fire Department, and Manitoba Poison Control Center (1-855-776-4766 or 1-855-7POISON) along with numbers for your doctor(s) and a trusted neighbor or family member. If you have difficulty seeing the numbers on a regular telephone, use a Big Button cordless phone available at your local store.

You have now completed the Home Safety Checklist!

The Home Safety Checklist helps you learn what is putting you at risk of falling in and around your home and recommendations are listed below based on your responses. Review these recommendations and make a plan. If you have any questions about the information you have been given, print a copy of your summary and discuss it with your Seniors Resource Centre. You can also access the Seniors Guide for information on health services and safety. Please click here for more information: http://www.wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/directory/files/HealthServices_Directory.pdf

Things you can improve on:

    Things you are doing well: