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Moving this Summer? JCPH Shares 10 Tips for Ensuring Your New Space is Healthy and Safe
Jefferson County, Colo. — It’s peak moving season in Jefferson County, as residents seek out new spaces to settle in and call home. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, growing family, empty-nester looking to downsize, college student returning home or a new resident to Jeffco altogether, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has tips for making sure the place you live is healthy and safe.
“If you think about the average 24-hour day, most people spend at least half of the day at home,” said James Rada, Environmental Health Services Director at JCPH. “There is a strong connection between our health and where we live, and there are some important things people can do to make sure their house or apartment — and their neighborhood — is as safe as possible.”
JCPH has compiled ten tips to get you off on a healthy start in your new home:
Test your home for radon. In Colorado, about 50 percent of homes have high levels of radon. Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, cancer-causing gas that comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium and radium in soil, rock and water. Radon test kits are available at JCPH for $10, and our Environment Health Services staff is available to assist with any questions.
Prevent exposure to lead. Homes and buildings that were built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint products, and there are many other sources of lead such as gasoline, solder and some consumer products. Lead poisoning can cause significant damage to health, especially for children. Learn more about lead and how to prevent exposure in your home.
Safely clean your home and treat for pests. When moving into a new location, you may want to start off on a clean footing by thoroughly cleaning the residence and treating for pests. Be sure to use all chemicals and pesticides strictly according to the label instructions. Wear appropriate safety glasses, gloves and protective clothing to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes and on your skin. Also, never mix chemicals to avoid the possibility of creating toxic fumes.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and invest in a fire extinguisher. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. Make sure there is a working smoke detector in every bedroom. If a fire does occur, having a fire extinguisher on hand can save lives and your property. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm, too, and know the prevention guidelines.
Get a first aid kit. Make sure your home has a well-stocked first aid kit that includes safety items for a variety of situations — bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, wound dressings, gauze and more. Be sure to also include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers.
Lock up any firearms, prescription medications and other substances harmful to children, teenagers and pets. Lock boxes or locking cabinets can help prevent access by household members or visitors to firearms, prescription drugs, tobacco, vape pens/mods, cannabis and alcohol. You can get a lock box online or in stores or use a cabinet or drawer that can be locked.
Safely get rid of recyclable waste and hazardous materials. Many household materials pose a serious health and environmental hazard if not properly disposed of. Wondering what to do with your old electronics, used paint, batteries, appliances and more? The Rooney Road Recycling Center offers household hazardous waste disposal and recycling services as well as electronics recycling to Jeffco residents.
Prepare for emergencies. In Colorado, we see blizzards, floods, wildfires, hail storms and other serious extreme weather events. Make sure you have shelter-in-place and evacuation plans for your new home, put together a 72-hour supply kit (including copies of any important documents), and get to know your neighbors — they can be your biggest support system during a crisis. In addition, forging strong connections with those around you can build a healthier, happier community for all. Don’t forget any needs for your pets, too. Sign up for CodeRED, Jeffco’s emergency alert system, and find other ways you can get prepared, here.
If you have a private well, test your water. If you are a private well owner, you are responsible for inspecting and testing your well to ensure your water is safe. Typical well water tests for most areas should include bacteria, nitrate and fluorides. You can consult a private laboratory for testing or you may order bottles from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) lab by calling 303-692-3074.
If you have one, maintain your onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS). Similar to a private well, if you have an OWTS, you are responsible for maintaining it. Since many homeowners have little or no experience with an OWTS, JCPH has info to help you understand how your OWTS functions and ways you can help improve its operation.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH, visit
. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.
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