12 Steps To A Safer Home
(BlackDoctor.org) — According to the Home Safety Council, home accidents cause 20,000 deaths in the United States annually. Compare that with 742 from planes, 0.5 from sharks, and 70 from lightning.
Room-by-room, what simple solutions do experts recommend simple solutions to preserve your home’s safety?
Every year 4,380 people are injured in cooking-related accidents.
An idiotproof extinguisher: The how-to’s on First Alert Heavy-Duty Fire Extinguisher ($30; Amazon.com) are clearly illustrated so you know exactly what to do in an emergency. It also carries a 3-A:10-B:C rating, which means it can handle virtually any flame (A is wood, paper, and plastics; B is flammable liquids; and C is electrical). Stow 10 feet from the stove, says Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council.
An oven mitt that’ll take the heat: The Ove Glove ($15; Target stores) has a nonslip grip and can withstand temperatures up to 540?F, thanks to its combo of Kevlar and Nomex–the same flame-resistant materials found in firefighters’ gear.
A stocked first aid kit: You could buy a ready-made version, but it likely won’t include everything you need.
Slips and falls, often in the bathroom, account for about 5.1 million injuries a year, while scalding causes as many as 60,000.
Easy-to-install grab bars: Unlike previous incarnations, the new SecureMount grab bars from Homecare by Moen ($30 to $50; Lowe’s stores) require close to zero handyman skills. And they can be safely mounted horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Antiscald devices: If you set your hot water heater to 120°F, you won’t get a sizzling blast in the shower when someone flushes. Renters or condo residents who don’t have access to the water heater can try the ScaldShield Anti-Scald Device $35; Antiscald Inc.). The faucet-mounted unit restricts water flow to a trickle if the temp hits about 117°F.
More than 3,000 toddlers visit the ER annually for injuries caused by toppling furniture. Having a fireplace ups the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, which accounts for about 100,000 doctor visits a year.
Furniture straps: TVs, bookcases–any heavy object can be a hazard if it’s not secured to a wall stud. Experts like Furniture Wall Straps from Safety First ($4; Babies R Us). They’re simple to install and restrain objects that weigh 200-plus pounds.
A CO detector: The Kidde Digital Battery-Operated CO Alarm 900-0146 ($40; Target) is a favorite. One reason: It carries the Underwriters Laboratories label (a UL inside a circle), which lets you know that the product has been thoroughly tested and inspected. Put CO detectors on every level of your home and within 10 feet of each bedroom.
About half of home fire deaths occur at night when residents are asleep.
High-tech smoke detectors: Got kids? Opt for a detector that allows you to record your own warning and escape instructions, like the SignalOne Vocal Smoke Alarm 012504 ($30; Amazon.com). A recent study in Pediatrics found that 96% of children awoke to a parent-voice alarm, while only 58% were aroused by a conventional one.
Also, sleep with the door shut to avoid smoke inhalation from a fire elsewhere in your house.
– Program the poison control hotline number (800) 222-1222–along with other emergency numbers–into every phone in the home.
– Develop a fire escape plan in which you ID two exits out of every room and establish a meeting place for your family; hold fire drills twice a year.
– Install several light timers around your home and set them to turn on at different hours to help deter burglars.
– Check your fuse box. If the majority of the fuses are 30 amps, there’s a good chance you’re overloading the circuit–and sitting on a fire hazard. Don’t know the proper sizes? Have an electrician label them for you.