Owning a home comes with a variety of responsibilities, one of which is keeping those who come to your home safe from harm.  Throughout the year, but particularly in the winter months, it is important to ensure your home is free of hazards.  During the winter months, these hazards often include snow, ice, and falling branches.  Since most homeowners likely have several visitors (mailman, delivery drivers, friends, etc.) access their sidewalks and walkways throughout the day, it’s imperative these areas are timely shoveled and ice melt is placed. 

While most people work during the day, it’s a good idea to shovel and place sand or ice melt prior to leaving for work, as well as once you get home.  This is a particularly good idea for those homeowners with young children or elderly visitors, both of which are more susceptible to a fall on snow or ice.  Tree branches are also troublesome during the winter and present their own dangers, both to people and vehicles.  During a snow, It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your branches and note the ones that seem to get heavier than the others, these are the ones more likely to break during a heavy snow.  If you see the same branch being repeatedly strained by the snow, it’s a good idea to get the branch trimmed or removed.  In fact, some homeowners insurers will inspect your home prior to issuing a policy and insist that certain branches be removed.

Another common safety issue has to do with those homeowners who are also pet owners.  Whether you own a dog or an exotic animal, it’s important to be aware of any violent propensities they may have.  By knowing how your pet acts in certain situations, you will be better prepared to keep your guests safe.  For instance, if your normally calm and gentle dog becomes excited and hyper around young children, it’s probably a good idea to put him away when young guests are over.  Sometimes an animal who is simply trying to “play” gets carried away and inadvertent injury is caused.  Similarly, if you know your dog is in the habit of finding his way out of the house, take a spare moment on the weekend to fix the broken gate, front door, etc. that is allowing him to get out and possibly harm someone.

Not only do you want to make sure your guests are safe, but you also want to protect yourself from any lawsuit that may arise from an injury on your property.  Like the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Thus, if you follow the simple recommendations above, you may very well keep yourself from facing a huge problem later.

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Filed under: Articles by Jennifer Crichton

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