8 Tips to make your home a safer place

8 Tips to make your home a safer place

June is National Safety Month, and since we're all spending more time at home these days, we thought we'd share some smart tips for staying safe and healthy at home this summer.

1. Work ergonomically

Most of us probably don’t have our home offices set up to keep our bodies healthy – after all, we kind of got surprised by the whole work from home thing. Working on the couch or on your kitchen chair may be fine for a few days, but since WFH looks like it’ll be a longer-term arrangement, it's good to set things up as ergonomically as we can.

Even if you don’t have a fancy office chair, multiple screens or a keyboard tray, there’s lots you can do to foster a healthy home office environment. Sit all the way back in your chair, with your feet flat on the floor (or on a box or book). Keep your arms at 45 degree angles if you can, and your keyboard close to your body to reduce pressure on your shoulders and wrists. Keep your screen at eye level (it’ll hurt your neck to look up or down for hours at a time), and don’t forget to take regular breaks to get up, walk around, and stretch a bit, too!

For more tips on setting up a healthy home office, read this.

2. Protect your data

Keep yourself and your personal information safe online by installing security software on your laptop and ensuring that you're downloading the latest updates for your operating system and any applications you may be using. Use secure websites (just look for the little padlock next to the URL if it's a site that's asking you for info like your credit card number or your SIN). Don't click on stuff from sources you don't know, and if you have to share information, be sure you're the one who initiated contact.

And you probably hear this a lot, but don't use the same passwords everywhere. Using unique, strong passwords makes things much harder for hackers. Having trouble remembering all those tough passwords? You don’t have to: an app like LastPass will securely store them all so you can look them up whenever you need them.

3. Give your detectors a test-drive

Give your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors a test once a month to ensure batteries are working and the alarm will work if you need it to. Stock up on batteries so you don’t have to go hunting for them if the ones in your smoke detector are running low.

4. Assemble a first aid kit.

Throw some bandages, disinfectant, pain relievers, antibiotic creams, etc. into a waterproof container or bag so you have stuff ready to go if someone is injured or ill. It’s great stuff to have on hand so you don’t have to go searching in an emergency…and you can take a small version of it with you when you travel.

First Aid Kit

5. Clean out the medicine cabinet

Take a little time to get rid of old medications and expired sunscreen, makeup and other personal items. But don't throw those meds in the garbage! Get rid of them responsibly – most drugstores will take expired medications and ensure proper disposal.

6. Hold a fire drill

Get hold of your building’s emergency evacuation info, identify your exit routes, and relive your school days by practicing your escape so you're ready and level-headed in case there's an emergency.

CPR Class

7. Learn first aid and CPR

It definitely doesn't hurt to know what to do if someone burns their hand, slices their finger or chokes on a piece of food. Of course, you’ll probably need to wait until things are fully open after the quarantine to take a first aid and CPR class. But when you're ready, the City of Toronto offers these programs, as well as a number of other organizations like St. John Ambulance – a quick Google search should net you lots of options.

8. Prevent trips and falls

Declutter floors, hallways and stairs and ensure electrical cords are behind furniture or otherwise secured — binder clips can be a very handy and inexpensive way to corral those cords. Make sure hallways and bathrooms have night lights too so it's easy to get around at night without tripping over things.

Whether you’re putting in 8 hours (or more) of work a day from home or just spending more time there during COVID, it pays to be prepared so that you can prevent illness or injury. Stay safe, everyone!

Related info: COVID-19: Small space sanity tips

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