6 Simple Steps to a Safer Home

Keeping your family safe inside your home doesn’t have to involve bubble wrap and cloistered living. A few simple steps can give you peace of mind.

  1. Have a Plan: Exits are only good if your family knows where they are and how to use them. Making a plan for emergencies and rehearsing them as a family can reduce your risk of injury and death. Draw out an emergency exit plan and designate a meeting place and let children know who to call if parents cannot be reached.If you have special equipment, such as an emergency ladder or fire extinguishers, teach them how to use them. Children may think they’ll get in trouble for making a mess or using it without supervision. Or they may be afraid of the the noise or force of a fire extinguisher. Practice takes the fear out of using life saving equipment for both children and parents. A good plan should also take into consideration the special needs of children, the elderly, and the disabled.
  2. Smoke Detectors: These should be on every level and in every bedroom. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (usfa.gov) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the ionization fire alarms are the best type of alarm to buy and can be purchased for as little as $5. Detectors can be hard wired into your homes electrical system or battery run only. Most come with a “chirping” function to alert you to drained batteries, but should be checked monthly.
  3. Fire Extinguishers: There are several types of fire extinguishers but the Type A, B, and K are used for the most common household fires such as paper or fabric (A), gasoline and oil based paints (B), and cooking oils(K). Some extinguishers are rated for more than one type of fire. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends having at least one fire extinguisher handy inside your kitchen (most fires start there) and one in the Garage. Extinguishers can be purchased for as little as $12 or $13.
  4. Carbon Monoxide Detectors: According to the CDC, Malfunctioning appliances such as your furnace and water heater, can leak poisonous levels of Carbon Monoxide into your home. You can prevent poisoning by keeping your appliances in good condition and having professional check ups periodically. Carbon Monoxide detectors can be combined with your smoke detectors, or a separate unit that mounts to a wall or even plug into an outlet. Their placement is important. If it’s placed too close to your utility closet that houses the furnace and water heater it may go off even if there is no threat to your family. The CPSC recommends that a detector be placed near or inside bedrooms.
  5. Keep it clean: According to WebMD, the number one cause of home injury and death is from falls. Keep stairs and walkways clear, especially if you have young children or elderly adults in the home. Hand rails, good lighting, and non slip surfaces in bathtubs and showers are good to have.
  6. Poisons: The number two cause of home injury and death is poisons. Keep cleaners and solvents away from children’s reach. Everyday over the counter drugs and prescription medications may look like candy to children. Keep them out of reach or locked away.

It’s impossible to be prepared for every eventuality, but for the most common injuries and home disasters, a little planning and a few good products can make all the difference.



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