Staying safe in your home


Generally, the majority of people want to stay independent for as long as possible, but accidents can happen in the home. Below are simple steps and tips that could keep you safer at home in later life.  

Home security

If you want to feel more secure in your own home, there are several devices you can install to help you feel more at ease. Remember, it’s important to secure any doors, garages, sheds, and passageways outside your home.

Here are some tips to think about when securing your home:

  • Keep your valuable items out of view

  • Make sure that garage doors are solid and fitted with good locks. Always keep garage windows and doors locked, particularly if your garage is attached to your house with a door leading inside

  • Deter thieves from getting into your garden by putting up a strong fence or planting a prickly hedge

  • If you have a side gate make sure this is secure enough to withstand strong force

  • Consider gravel driveways and paths - this will make it harder for burglars to approach silently

  • Outdoor lighting - not only does it make it easier to find your way if you're outside in the dark, but it can also act as a deterrent. You can get a light with a motion sensor that will turn on when it detects any movement outside

  • Visible burglar alarms will also act as a deterrent and make you aware of an intruder.

If you're considering installing a burglar alarm, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Ask the Safer Neighbourhood team at your nearest police station for advice

  • Seek out different quotes and specialist advice from alarm companies. You can also check with your insurance company which alarm companies it recommends

  • Get professional help to install the alarm to make sure it’s installed correctly.

It’s important to note that some home insurance companies will lower your premium if you have additional security devices installed. 

British Gas have recommendations on home safety products, you can also book a free consultation appointment where their experts help identify the home safety products you need.

Falls prevention

Visit our falls prevention information page for more advice. 

Personal alarms

A personal alarm allows you to easily call for help in an emergency and support independent living, providing peace of mind to you and your loved ones.

There are different kinds of alarms, but the most common is a monitored pendant alarm which you can wear around your wrist or neck. Whenever they need assistance, they can press the button on the pendant to raise the alarm.

Once activated, the button sends a signal to an alarm base unit. Most alarm units are connected to your landline and call a 24-hour response team, who will respond by contacting nominated emergency contacts to come and assist you. If it is a medical emergency, the response team will contact the emergency services. There are also landline-free personal alarms.

You may be able to get a community alarm through your local council. To find out more, visit the NHS website >

Fire safety

To help you stay safe and protect you from fire hazards, think about the below fire prevention tips:

  • Have working fire and carbon monoxide alarms - it’s good to test these every month

  • Look out for damaged cords on electrical appliances

  • Don’t plug an extension lead into another extension lead. You might overload the socket which can cause an electrical fire

  • Don’t leave lit candles unattended

  • Avoid smoking indoors and ensure that you stub out your cigarettes completely

  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking

  • Purchasing a fire extinguisher and blanket

  • Installing an emergency response system that alerts your emergency contacts and emergency services when needed

  • Switching to an electric induction hob, these are much safer as the ring will only work when induction pans are used. Induction hobs are also more energy-efficient, and most pans can now be used on an induction hob - make sure you check before you purchase.

There’s more information on keeping your home fire-safe on the GOV UK website.

Free fire alarms - Safe & Well Service

The majority of fire services in the UK provide free fire alarms through their Safe & Well Service. Your eligibility for a free alarm depends on the area you live in and your circumstances. 

For example, you may be offered a free alarm if you’re aged above 75, disabled, or have a long-term illness.

The Safe & Well visits are free and carried out by your local fire service. To find your local fire service, Google your area as well as "fire service". You can book an appointment online or over the phone. 

Safety in the bathroom

There are a few simple steps you can take to make your bathroom safer:

  • If you have a shower over your bath, place a rubber mat in the bathtub

  • Install rails in your bathroom - grab rails by the toilet, shower, and bath can help you keep your balance when the floor is wet

  • If you struggle with balance, consider investing in a shower seat. These are a great alternative to standing in the shower and minimise the risk of falls

  • If you have a personal alarm, make sure the pendant button is water-resistant. Keep your pendant on in the bath or shower so you'll be able to call for help if needed.

Check your lightbulbs

Good lighting reduces the chances of falls and will make you feel safer. A high-wattage light bulb will provide more brightness. Make sure you have a supply of replacements available and keep working torches on hand in case of a power cut.

Unexpected doorstep callers

You don’t need to open the door for unexpected callers. Never let anyone in your home that you are unsure about. If people are saying they’re from an organisation, you can request to see their ID badge.

If you are still unsure whether they are genuine, you can ask the person to come back another time when someone you trust will be with you.

If you’re worried about a doorstep caller, dial 999 and ask for the police to report it.  

Tips if you go on holiday

Some simple tips below will help you with peace of mind when you’re leaving your home for an extended period.

  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home for you

  • Avoid discussing your holiday plans in public places and social media 

  • Cancel your regular deliveries like milk or a newspaper

  • Use a timer switch so a lamp will automatically turn on in the evenings

  • Sign up for Royal Mail Keep safe service (there is a charge for this) so that your post is stored at your local delivery office while you’re away and will be delivered to you after you return home.

Other help and support available 

Page last updated: September 2023.