Your home should be a safe haven. And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 11,000 people die every year from injuries sustained in falls, fires, poisoning and drowning—all taking place at home. 

With a little bit of planning, you can make your house safer and protect yourself and your family. Here’s how:

Prepare an emergency kit. If a disaster strikes, it’s important to have a portable kit that you can use on site or tote along during a quick exit. The American Red Cross offers guidance on what to stock for the kit, including one gallon of water per person per day; non-perishable food that you can prepare easily; a flashlight; batteries; a multipurpose tool; a seven-day supply of medications; a first-aid kit and a number of other items. See the full list here.

Store medicine safely. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization aimed at keeping kids safe, publishes a safety checklist for storing medicine. Among those tips:  Store all medications (including creams for rashes, eye drops, vitamins and other health care items) out of sight and out of reach of your children. Be sure to put medications away after every use and ask visitors to also ensure their medication is out of reach of children.

Test your detectors. According to the American Red Cross, nearly 60 percent of deaths from house fires happen because a smoke alarm wasn’t working. The Red Cross suggests installing smoke alarms in every level of the home, inside of bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas, and encourages people to test those alarms once a month. It’s also important to installs a working carbon monoxide detector. According to the CDC, more than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms each year for carbon monoxide poisoning and more than 400 die. Check and/or replace the battery when the time changes in the fall and spring. 

Keep kids safe around pools. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched the campaign, Pool Safely: Simple Steps to Save Lives, with the goal of preventing kids from drowning and getting trapped by drains. The website,, provides a number of safety tips, including the following: surround pools and spas on all sides with fencing or a barrier that’s at least four feet high that kids can’t climb. Never leave children unattended in or near a pool or spa, ensure that pools and spas have safe drain covers and learn CPR in case of an emergency. 

Protect against falls. One in three older people fall each year, according to the CDC, and one out of five of those falls leads to serious injury. To be less prone to falls at home, the CDC suggests you move anything you could trip over, add grab bars in the bathroom near the bathtub, shower and toilet, place railing on any stairs in the home and install bright light bulbs to improve visibility indoors.

By making some minor changes, you can better enjoy time spent in your home, knowing that you and your loved ones are not only prepared, but safe.