The place where we most often seek refuge, our “safe” haven, is actually the place where we have the most risk for injury. You guessed it: Our home. Familiarity breeds carelessness in the form of falls on stairs and in dimly-lit hallways, burns from unsafe kitchen conditions, slips in bathtubs and misplaced tools in garages. We don’t often have the time to repair faults in our home until it’s too late.
Ignoring repair issues does not only pose a risk to us as the homeowner, but also to those who service our homes. We often feel as though we do not have to “prepare” for someone to come and clean our carpets, unplug our sink disposal, or fix our heater. We think, “They are used to these conditions, they can work around me.” But, before you ask any repair person to take care of the defective property at your home, it’s a good idea to clear the way to ensure further injury won’t occur.
Even if you have called upon the same person time and time again, repairmen are not as familiar with the layout of your home or the specific pathway needed to access the defective area as you are. Still, you tell them, “Oh, just step over Johnny’s bike,” or “Watch the floor, it’s wet,” or “Fido won’t hurt you.” But if Joe Repairman’s foot gets caught in the spoke of Johnny’s bike, or he slips on the floor, or Fido takes a dislike to people in a blue uniform, you could be telling a whole different story.
Take the time to be safe before you have the repair done. For instance, if a contractor arrives to repair that faulty handrail on your deck stairs, alert him to which rail is defective before he leans on it and takes a fall. If your refrigerator is leaking water and you know where it puddles, don’t assume that the repairman knows exactly where the water is pooled as he’s walking to the kitchen.
A simple checklist of preparedness includes the following:
- Did the kids leave toys outside in the carport, or on the steps to the front door?
- Are the supports of the stairs fastened tightly?
Is there wood deteriorating where someone could trip or fall through?
- Did you recently water your plants? Is the water running over near an electrical outlet?
- Are the outdoor lights in working order and bright enough so someone can find the way to the door?
- Are the pets in the back yard or tied up so as not to cause a distraction, before the door bell rings?
- Are all garden tools and hoses put away?
- Are there unusual poolings of water, or dimly lit areas in the yard?
- Have you checked your home warranty lately? Does it cover a visitor’s injuries on your property?
All of these assumptions are things we take for granted. We know our home is safe and secure. But, is it really? A little extra time can ensure that it will treat you well for many years to come.