Keeping Your Home Safe

Find our most frequently requested information about safety in the home.

Air Pollution

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Many activities pollute the air we breathe, including driving cars and trucks; burning coal, oil, and other fossil fuels; and even such everyday activities as dry cleaning, painting operations, and filling your car with gas.  When these gases and particles accumulate in the air in high enough concentrations, they can harm us and our environment. The Clean Air Act, first passed in 1970, was created to clean up air pollution and help protect the health of all Americans.

To learn more about your outdoor and indoor air quality, visit the links below. 

Outdoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

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Home Fire Safety

On average, every three hours, someone in the United States dies from a fire. There’s a lot you can do to prevent a fire in your home, and to stay alive if one does start.

High Risk Factors

  • Cooking causes the most fires, while smoking leads to the most deaths.
  • Young children and the elderly are in the most danger from fire deaths.
  • Night is the deadliest time for fires. You need smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to help prevent dying from smoke and other killer gases while you sleep.
  • Alcohol use contributes to 40% of fire deaths because of accidents, heavier sleeping, and bad judgment.‚Äč

Prevent Home Fires

Get the basics from on preventing fires in your home, and learn about specific fire hazards:


Heating and Other Dangers

Survive a Fire in Your Home

  • Working smoke alarms cut your chance of dying in a home fire in half. Find out how to correctly use smoke alarms.
  • Make an escape plan and practice it. During a fire, you might not be able to see or breathe, which means you’ll need a plan you can follow quickly and with your eyes closed.
  • Smoke and other toxic gases kill far more often than heat. These gases disorient before they kill, so get out fast.
  • Learn more about what to do after a fire. 

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Homeowners and Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance protect your personal property against damage or loss, and insures you in case someone gets hurt while on your property. You may already have insurance on your home if you have a mortgage on the property, because most lenders make insurance a condition of the loan.

Renters insurance, or tenant insurance, offers renters coverage similar to homeowners insurance. If you are a renter, do not assume your landlord carries insurance on your personal belongings; you may wish to purchase a separate policy.

What Can Homeowners or Renters Insurance Cover?

Homeowners or renters insurance may pay claims for:

  • damage to your home, garage, and other outbuildings
  • loss of furniture and other personal property due to damage or theft, both at home and away
  • additional living expenses if you rent temporary quarters while your house is being repaired

Homeowners or renters insurance may also:

  • include liability for bodily injury and property damage that you cause to others through negligence
  • include liability for accidents happening in and around your home, as well as away from home, for which you are responsible
  • pay for injuries occurring in and around your home to anyone other than you or your family
  • provide limited coverage for money, gold, jewelry, and stamp and coin collections
  • cover personal property in storage

What Doesn't Homeowners or Renters Insurance Cover?

Homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover some catastrophic losses, such as those from earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. You may be able to purchase such coverage by adding an earthquake or flood endorsement to your insurance policy, or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Shopping for a Policy

You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year on homeowners or renters insurance by shopping around. You can also save money with these tips:

  • Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premium.
  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as deadbolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters, or fire retardant roofing material. Persons over 55 years of age or long-term customers may also be offered discounts.
  • Insure your house, not the land under it. After a disaster, the land is still there. If you don't subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner's insurance to buy, you will pay more than you should.
  • Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace what is insured. "Replacement" coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents. An "Actual Cash Value" policy is cheaper but pays only what your property is worth at the time of loss, minus depreciation for age and wear.
  • Ask about special coverage you might need. You may have to pay extra for computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, stamp collections, etc.
  • Before you purchase a renters' insurance policy, check with the landlord. The landlord may require you to carry specific limits of insurance for specific coverages. The landlord may also require you to name him/her as an additional insured on your tenant policy.

For help in deciding how much insurance coverage to buy, contact your state insurance regulator.

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Mold Problems

Mold is a kind of fungus that grows in damp areas. It can cause health problems, such as cold-like symptoms, skin reactions, shortness of breath, or infections, depending on a person’s sensitivity to mold and current health condition. People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions, or people with weakened immune systems may be more sensitive to mold. Consult a health professional if you or your family members are experiencing health problems due to mold growth.

Mold Basics

If you find mold growing in your home, you can clean it up yourself or hire a mold remediation expert. Be sure to fix any water problem to help keep mold from returning.

Reporting Mold Problems

There are different procedures for reporting mold based on where it is.

If There is Mold at Your Workplace:

If You Believe Your Children are Exposed to Mold at School:

If You are a Renter Concerned About Mold in Your Home or Other Building:

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