Household Tips

7 Simple Household Tip to Protect Yourself and Family

It’s been called the battle cry of the recalcitrant victim: “It will never happen to me!” Yet each year, nearly one million families become victims of one or more potentially devastating accidents. 

I’m not talking about auto accidents or even sports injuries. These accidents occur without you leaving the home. And they’re accidents that could have been avoided.

They include electrical and kitchen fires, gas leaks, smoke and carbon monoxide injuries, scalding from hot water, and falling down stairs. At best they cause injury. At worst, they can be deadly.

That’s why this issue is dedicated to revealing seven easy, cost effective ways for reducing your chances of facing such a household calamity. Take the test. See which ones you have covered in your home…and which ones should be on your safety list. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to see how you scored.

1. Have you replaced your smoke detector(s) in the last 10 years?

As of 1997, 94 percent of all homes have smoke detectors. In fact, a working smoke detector can reduce your risk of dying in a house fire by nearly 50 percent. But did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years? And batteries should be changed every six months. 

2. Does your family have an escape plan if a fire should occur?

Sure, it’s easy to say, “it’ll never happen to us,” but only 16 percent of households have developed and practiced a simple fire escape plan. Here’s a tip: to maximize your family’s safety, you should have at least two ways out of every room and discuss and practice these routes at least twice a year. Also, plan an emergency meeting place a safe distance from your home in the event of a fire.

3. Parents, do you have anti-scald valves on all faucets and vent locks or gates on all windows?

Water temperatures can fluctuate by as many as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, scaulding is a leading cause of burn related injuries among young children. Also, remember to install safety gates on windows; window screens alone are not strong enough to prevent falls.

4. Do you have a class ABC fire extinguisher mounted near an exit on every level of your home?

Home fires are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people over the age of one. That’s why, in addition to smoke and fire detectors, fire extinguishers should be located on evey level on your home. And don’t forget to keep a well-sized extinguisher near your kitchen.

5. Do you have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for receptacles near all water supplies and damp areas?

Yes, this includes all outlets in bathrooms, laundry area, kitchen or anywhere dampness meets electricity. GFCIs are designed to act like circuit breakers to eliminate shock hazards. They protect a circuit by monitoring the current and shutting it down if an imbalance is detected.

6. Do your stairwells have bright lights at both the top and bottom, and are your basement steps painted with illuminating paint?

More than 42 percent of falling deaths result from tripping on stairs and steps. Illuminating the location of steps will go a long way toward preventing tripping. And don’t forget to secure all rugs and carpeting on or near your steps with rubber backing or double-stick tape.

7. Do all of your exterior doors have deadbolt locks on them?

Most burglars take the easy way into your home: either a door or window. That’s why deadbolts offer the greatest protection. It’s best to use double-cylinder bolts when there is glass in or near a door. This will virtually eliminate a burglar’s chance of opening the bolt by hand.

How many times did you answer "Yes"?

0-2 - Your home is hazardous, take immediate measures
3-5 - Your family's well-being is important, but you still have more work to do.
6-7 - Your family's safety is top priority

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