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By Christian M. Hartley
For Senior Voice 

Household tips for a safer spring


May 1, 2024 | View PDF

Spring has sprung and the blooming flowers, buzzing bees, biting mosquitoes and trip hazards abound as you can finally get out of the house more often. With a few simple preparations, you can enjoy the summer months while minimizing potential risks to your health and well-being.

One aspect of summer home safety is ensuring your air conditioning system is in good working order if you have one. Before the heat arrives, schedule a professional to inspect and maintain your AC unit. This will help prevent breakdowns during hot days and ensure your home stays cool and comfortable. The last time you need to discover something needs a repair is when you need it, after all.

If you don't have air conditioning, consider investing in one or at least a few fans to help circulate air and keep your living spaces well-ventilated.

Proper ventilation maintains a healthy home environment. Open windows when the weather permits to allow fresh air to circulate. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they are set to rotate counterclockwise during the summer months. This will push cool air down, creating a more comfortable atmosphere. Remember to clean or replace your air filters regularly to keep the air in your home clean and free of allergens.

As you spend more time outdoors during the summer, be mindful of potential fall hazards. Keep your patios, decks and walkways free of clutter and well-maintained. Repair any loose or uneven boards and consider installing handrails or grab bars in areas where you might need extra support. If you enjoy gardening or other outdoor activities, wear sturdy, non-slip shoes and take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion.

Back inside your home, help prevent falls by removing throw rugs or securing them with non-slip backing. Keep floors clear of clutter and ensure that electrical cords are out of the way and not posing a tripping hazard. In the bathroom, install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub to provide additional stability. Consider using a non-slip mat or adding non-slip strips to the bottom of your bathtub or shower to reduce the risk of slipping.

Finally, make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Test them monthly and replace the batteries as needed. If you can get one that has a 10-year battery inside of it, you will not have to worry about the batteries at all. Keep a fire extinguisher somewhere easy to access and know how to use it in an emergency.

These simple steps prepare your home for the summer season, allowing you to enjoy the warmer months with greater peace of mind. Do not hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or local resources if you need assistance in making these important home safety improvements.

Christian M. Hartley is a 40-year Alaska resident with over 25 years of public safety and public service experience. He is the City of Houston Fire Chief and also serves on many local and state workgroups, boards and commissions related to safety. He lives in Big Lake with his wife of 19 years and their three teenage sons.


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