A number of online resources can provide help.

Accidents in the home account for more than 50 percent of all hospital admissions for elderly patients and more than a third of the admissions of adolescents and teens. Many of these incidents could easily have been prevented if simple home inspections were conducted.

In this week’s column, I’ll discuss several things that can be checked and made safer without costly fixes.

Check your lighting. At night and in poor daylight conditions, being able to see can prevent falls. Sometimes it’s as easy as replacing a light bulb. Make sure to have well-lit stairs, entrances and walkways.

Electric issues left unattended can be a cause of fire and injury. Make sure electric cords are not under carpets or other materials. If there is a hint of an electric problem in your home, have it checked immediately. Make sure you know how to properly operate appliances before using, turn off appliances you are not using and unplug small kitchen appliances when not in use. Don’t try home appliance repair unless you’re properly skilled in that arena.

If you have children in the house, put child-resistant covers on exposed outlets. Make sure to guard against children getting ahold of knives, forks, matches, lighters, weapons, medications and other hazardous materials. You can easily and inexpensively install cabinet latches that are child resistant.

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If they’re battery operated, change the batteries at least twice a year. Replace old detectors — most are rated for only 10 years.

Check the security of your house. Are all the window and door locks working? Do you routinely lock your doors? If a stranger approaches one of your children, do they know what to do? Don’t leave invitations out for burglars. When you buy a big new TV, don’t put the box outside until the refuse pickup date.

Check for signs of wear and tear that may cause a problem. Loose carpet on stairways, tiles peeling up at the corners, screen doors with broken latches, loose gutters and other damage can greatly increase the risks to everyone in the house if not corrected. Take a survey of the exterior of your home after every storm to see if there are loose shingles, siding or soffits that can fall off.

When using power tools, make sure the area is clear and that you know how to use the tool. Follow the safety instructions and take your time. Forcing power tools to work faster can lead to disastrous results.

Look around at clutter to see if it creates a hazard. Remember that stairs are for walking on, not storing stuff on.

Several great home safety lists are available for free on the internet. Check your home and get the whole family involved. Make it a regular family activity and everyone will be safer for it.

For more info, check:

— www.safekids.org

— www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/home_safety_checklist.pdf

— www.health.ny.gov/publications/3106.pdf

— https://aging.ny.gov/News/2012/FallsHomeSafetySelfAssessmentTool.pdf

About this series

Chief Ken Beers is a 40-year veteran of the emergency medical services field and has led Canandaigua Emergency Squad since 2001. CES, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit unit that receives no tax-based support, responds to more than 5,000 calls per year in Ontario County and partners with the East Bloomfield Volunteer Ambulance. For more information, go to canandaiguaes.org. If you have questions or want to get involved, send emails to info@canandaigues.org.