When it comes to keeping our homes safe and secure, we all know the basics. Don’t leave candles unattended, test your smoke detectors, and clean out the lint tray in the dryer. But there are many other dangers lurking in our living rooms and cavorting in our kitchens that can be even more dangerous because we don’t think of them and therefore, don’t take the steps to protect against them. June is Home Safety Month and to help you create the safest and most secure home possible, here are some of the most common hazards that may be hiding in your home.
Smoke Detectors without Batteries
It is great to have smoke detectors, but they need to be operational. More than two-thirds of all home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Note: this fact doesn’t say homes without smoke detectors; it says homes without working smoke detectors. Check your smoke detectors to ensure that they contain batteries and that the batteries are working.
Clutter can drive you crazy but it can also endanger your life. It might sound strange but there are several ways that living in a cluttered environment can pose a danger. First, you increase your risk of tripping and falling when the pathways through your home are not clear. Second, clutter can provide a great source of fuel for home fires. Third, clutter can make it difficult to navigate through your home in situations with poor visibility. This can impede your ability to evacuate in the event of a fire or find a flashlight if the power goes out.
Blocked or Permanently Closed Windows
Take a minute to look around your house from the perspective of having to get out of the house in the event of a fire. Pay particular attention to the windows. Could you get to at least one window in every room, get it open, and get out of it if there was a fire? Blocked windows and windows that have been nailed or painted shut can pose a danger by blocking an intended evacuation route from a room. Make sure each room has an accessible window that provides an exit in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Frayed Cords on Electronic Equipment
When was the last time you routed around behind your entertainment center to ensure that all the cords coming out of your various pieces of electronic equipment are in good working order? Odds are the only time you think about the cords plugged into your outlets is when you plug something in or unplug it. Unfortunately, cords can become frayed over time which creates a very dangerous situation. Add checking your cords to your annual safety check.
Stand facing your stove and look at what is within 3 feet of the heating sources. If your house is like most houses, you will see paper towels, pot holders, recipe cards, magazines, papers from your child’s school, and several other combustible materials. This may explain why almost half of all home fires start in the kitchen. Keep a combustible free zone around the stove and oven to decrease your risk of becoming a fire statistic.
Everyone knows that cleaning out the lint tray in the dryer helps prevent house fires. However, just cleaning the lint tray isn’t enough. Dirt and lint still builds up inside the machine increasing the risk of fire. Clean this out at least once a year and have it professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
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