Safety Center

Fall Home Inspection and Protection

Autumn is an excellent time to switch out your wardrobe and transition to the changing weather with home safety in mind.

Inspect furnace

  • Prepare early by cleaning or replacing the air filters

  • Schedule an annual inspection by an HVAC professional to examine the unit’s interior, exterior, and burner and check for leaks and blockages

Check fireplace

  • Make sure the damper easily opens and closes

  • Clean the flue of soot and look for creosote and for bird or squirrel nests, which are fire risks and can restrict airflow

  • Keep the area around the fireplace free of newspapers, magazines, and other flammable objects

  • Look for any visible cracks or damage to the brick and mortar outside, which could indicate structural issues

  • Contact a chimney expert to address any concerns

Install or test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level, especially outside bedrooms

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your detectors (monthly, if you aren’t already doing it)

  • Replace any dead batteries

Develop or review a home evacuation plan

  • Determine two exit options for each room in the house

  • Instruct family members never to open a door hot to the touch

  • Consider small children and pets when planning

  • Select a safe meeting place, such as a neighbor’s house, where the family can gather after leaving your home

  • Conduct evacuation drills every six months

Practice ladder safety

  • More than 164,000 people in the U.S. visit emergency rooms annually due to ladder falls

  • Inspect the ladder for visible defects (cracked, bent, or loose locks, steps, rungs, hinges, and screws)

  • Be sure to have someone with you to help secure the ladder’s base

  • Always maintain three points of contact (hands and feet) on the ladder and ascend/descend cautiously

Declutter garage and basement

  • Discard or recycle old newspapers, magazines, and clothing that could fuel a fire

  • Consider replacing cardboard storage boxes with plastic containers

  • Keep storage items 3-to-4 feet away from the furnace and water heater

  • Do not block doorways or windows

  • Keep the stairwell clear of clutter to prevent trips and falls

  • Safely discard flammable chemical products

NJM Insurance Group’s Commitment to Safety

NJM’s enduring commitment to safety can be traced back to our earliest days — with a focus that has expanded from improving conditions in manufacturing facilities to helping keep customers safe on the roads and at home. NJM is a leader in personal and commercial auto, homeowners, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Our Safety Center pages are filled with tips related to the safety and maintenance of your home and autos. The information contained in these articles should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.