Staying Safe in Your Home

Injuries, accidents and poisonings are common in homes. Taking the following precautions can help prevent them from happening in your home and help to keep yourself and your family safe.

Food safety

Almost everyone has experienced foodborne illness, usually called “food poisoning.” Often these illnesses are merely uncomfortable and inconvenient and do not require medical care. However, some are more serious and can lead to hospitalization or death.

Changes in the way food is processed and distributed, international markets, and consumer demand have altered our food supply. Today, food may reach the table through long chains of production, packaging and transportation, which provides many opportunities for contamination. All these factors increase the risk for foodborne illness.

Although large disease outbreaks associated with restaurants generally get more public attention, it is just as easy for foodborne illness to occur at home. If food is handled and prepared safely, most of these illnesses can be avoided.

Find out what you can do to keep food safe

Injury and falls prevention

Many unintentional and preventable injuries and deaths occur in the home. More than 11,000 people are estimated to die each year from injuries resulting from falls, fires, drownings, poisonings, etc.

Find out what you can do to prevent injuries in the home

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. In fact, one in every three adults ages 65 and older fall each year. Some falls are minor, but others can result in serious injury—such as a broken hip or a head injury—as well as a loss of independence and mobility.

Learn more about preventing falls

Poisoning prevention and control

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 13 seconds a poison control center in the U.S. answers a call about a possible poisoning. More than 90% of these exposures happen in the home. Poisoning can be caused by household cleaning products, medicines, pesticides, carbon monoxide and lead.

Find out more information on preventing poisonings in the home

Safe drinking water

About four out of 10 Vermont households drink water from private residential wells. The water contains naturally occurring chemicals like calcium that can cause hard water and iron that can cause rusty red stains on your laundry. In some cases, human-made chemical compounds that have been made for a variety of products—such as pesticides, gasoline, dry cleaning solvents, and degreasing agents can contaminate drinking water. However, most of the chemicals in your water you cannot see, smell or taste, and they can affect your health.

Private well owners are responsible for testing the quality of their own drinking water and maintaining their own wells. The Health Department recommends the following testing schedule to make sure your drinking water is safe:

  • Total coliform bacterial test every year

  • Inorganic chemical (such as arsenic, nitrate, and manganese) test every five years

  • Gross alpha radiation screen every five years

Find out more about drinking water contaminants, health effects and what to test for

Safe sleep

Every year, some babies die while sleeping. The Health Department has developed guidelines for safe sleep with the hope that you and your loved ones will not have to experience such a loss.

Learn more about safe sleep

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Home Safety (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
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