From Danger Zone To Safe Haven: Simple Steps For Homeowners

How do you feel when you pull up in the driveway and walk through your front door? Do you feel safe, secure and relaxed or do you find it hard to kick back and unwind? Our homes should be havens where we can chill out and be ourselves in a safe environment. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. If your home is harboring hidden dangers, now is the time to take action. Accidents at home are all too common, and there are some very simple steps you can take to eliminate injuries and unexpected disasters.

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Fire safety
Did you know that more than 15,000 people were injured in house fires in the US in 2015? Most of us probably assume that a fire is a hazard we’ll never have to face at home, but the reality is that fires can break out when you least expect them. It can be as simple as leaving a candle burning close to soft furnishings, not putting a cigarette out properly or turning your back for a second while you’ve got pots on the stove. Fires are incredibly dangerous, and flames can spread very quickly, so it’s always beneficial to focus on prevention rather than cure.

If you don’t already have smoke detectors fitted in your home, don’t hesitate to make this the first job on your list of things to do. If you have detectors, but you can’t remember when they were last tested, check the batteries. If you’re unsure what to do or how to get detectors, contact your local fire service for advice.

Once you’ve got detectors around the house and you’ve checked that they are in good working order, it’s a good idea to invest in a fire blanket. If you have a large house or you run a business from home, you may wish to buy a fire extinguisher. If you have a fire extinguisher at home, make sure you understand how and when to use it. Not all extinguishers are compatible with every sort of fire. A chip pan fire, for example, is treated differently to an electric appliance that has caught fire. When you’re cooking, never leave pans unattended and make sure matches and lighters are kept in secure cupboards. This is particularly important if you have children.

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Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is often known as the silent killer because this harmful gas is both colorless and odorless. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur as a result of exposure to gas from appliances and installations such as boilers, gas fires, furnaces and grills. As carbon monoxide has no smell or color, it’s impossible to determine whether or not you’re breathing it in when you inhale. This is why carbon monoxide detection is so important. If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector at home, it’s well worth spending a few dollars on one. This simple device, which sounds an alarm when carbon monoxide is detected, could save lives.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include severe headaches, tiredness and lethargy, stomach upset, aches and pains, dizziness and confusion. This condition can affect both humans and pets, so look out for changes in your pet’s behavior.

To reduce your risk of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s important to have your furnace checked on a regular basis and ensure your chimney has been swept before you light a fire. Portable appliances can be particularly dangerous, so it’s best to avoid them. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so seek medical advice urgently if you do develop symptoms. In the USA, more than 20,000 people visit the Emergency Room every year as a result of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Food poisoning

When you rustle up a homemade meal in the kitchen, the last thing you want is to develop symptoms of food poisoning. Many cases of food poisoning could be prevented by better hygiene techniques and the use of safe storage and cooking practices. If you are preparing food at home, wipe down the surfaces and wash your hands. Use separate chopping boards for meat, fish and vegetables and wash your hands again after touching raw meat or fish. Ensure food is piping hot and take extra care with poultry. Chicken, for example, should not be served pink, as this carries a risk of salmonella.

If you’re keeping leftovers, place them in a secure, sealed container and keep them in the fridge. Reheat according to food hygiene guidelines. If you’re cooking something from the freezer, defrost it first. Don’t reheat anything twice. Try and keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Avoid piles of washing up, throw away food scraps, take the trash out on a regular basis and wipe surfaces and mop floors. Using antibacterial cleaning solutions can help to lower the risk of food poisoning.

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Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips and falls are the most common type of household accident. It’s not possible to prevent every slip, but there are things you can do to make your home a safer place. You may not even realize it, but your home may be an obstacle course. Keep corridors and stairways clear and repair any problems with the flooring, which may cause trips, such as frayed carpets. If you have young children, use stair gates to prevent little ones from trying to climb up and down the stairs.

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If you own a home, you probably want it to be a serene sanctuary where you can relax and feel completely comfortable. The trouble is that there are always hazards and dangers lurking. While it’s not always possible to stay safe at home, there are steps you can take to try and eliminate accidents and injuries. Pay attention to potential fire hazards, never leave the kitchen if you’re cooking and make sure you have working smoke detectors in place. If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, now is the time to buy one. Anyone can be subjected to carbon monoxide, and a simple, cheap device could save your life. Take care when cooking at home and ensure your kitchen is clean. Food poisoning is very common, but it can often be avoided. Finally, try and remove any obstacles that could increase the risk of slips and trips. You don’t want to be navigating uneven tiles, ripped carpets or staircases scattered with shoes or toys.

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