Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Dangers!–Five Simple Steps to Make Your Home Safer

Did you know that 47 percent of all injuries occur at home?  It’s National Home Safety Month: the perfect time to identify and eliminate risks around your home.  These five home safety steps take little or no money/time yet can save the life or limb of your family members and house guests. 

House on fire

1.  Be prepared for a fire emergency

More than 3,500 Americans die annually in fires, many at home.  Does your family know what to do in the event of a fire? Simple steps can save lives:
  • Have fire drills with your family, practicing various evacuation routes.
  • Plan a specific meeting location away from the house, so that you can all immediately know when and if everyone has made it out of the home. 
  • Check your home for any stuck windows or doors that might prevent exit during a fire and get them fixed.
  • For upstairs bedrooms, consider investing in emergency ladders that can be kept under beds when a hallway fire forces a window exit.  Practice using the ladders, but do so from a first floor window for safety; family members will still “get the hang of it” before the emergency that way.
  • If your home windows have security bars that could not only prevent burglaries but also prevent family members from escaping a fire, consider upgrading them with the type that have a quick-release device for emergency exiting.  Read more on this at
Finally, check with your local fire station; many of them hold informational or training events designed to help you survive a fire emergency.

2.  Be ready to practice first aid

Since nearly half of all injuries happen at home, it only makes sense to make sure that you and your family are ready to take immediate action in the event of injury, poisoning, heart attack, or other life-threatening circumstances that can occur at home. Being prepared to perform first aid involves both education and supplies.  Make sure you and your family:
  • Have up-to-date first aid kits in your home – ideally more than one.
  • Know how to do first aid, which can be as simple as signing up your family for a local first aid class.
  • Write down the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) and keep it in a safe place – perhaps in your medicine cabinets.
  • Know where the nearest hospital is and have your doctor’s phone number.
First aid kit

3.  Take steps to protect your children from lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is a serious home safety risk, especially to pregnant women and to children under age six. Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing lead.  According to, most lead poisoning comes from paint in homes built before 1978, so particularly pay heed to these risk-reduction steps if your home is more than 25 years old.

A primary source of lead in homes: ordinary house paint used before 1978. As old paint cracks or chips, it generates toxic lead dust, capable of causing learning and behavior problems. Lead can also be found in the ground around your house, your drinking water (from lead pipes), and from older toys and furniture.
To protect your family when you live in an older home, keep away from chipping or peeling lead paint, have your home tested for lead paint, ask your doctor to test your child for lead, wash hands and toys often, and use a wet paper towel or mop when dusting. 

To learn more about preventing lead poisoning, contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.  And when remodeling or repairing your house, first check out these lead-safe work practices from the EPA.

4.  Reduce risks of home injuries from falls

Federal statistics indicate that half of all falls happen at home. Fortunately, reducing risks of injuries from falls in your home is often easy and affordable. For example, you can reduce slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injury risks with such simple steps as removing wires or cords that cross pathways, keeping loose objects like shoes, magazines, or blankets off the floor, and removing throw rugs from your house, (or at least using a nonslip backing or double-sided tape between the rug and floor).   For a whole host of other simple and potentially life-saving tips, use this home fall risk prevention checklist from the CDC.

5.  Protect your family from asbestos risks

Asbestos, a building material commonly used in home construction before 1980, is now known to cause mesothelioma, a slow-developing and deadly form of cancer.  Since 80 percent of homes built before 1980 contain asbestos, it could be lying dormant in the walls, floors, or ceilings of your house right now, its dust ready to do deadly damage when stirred up by home maintenance or remodeling. 

Asbestos danger tape

Before you perform any remodeling or have any remodeling work done in your house, such as new roofing installation, insulation replacement, or re-tiling work, reviewed these potentially life-saving  remodeling safety  tips from

Get started today, during National Home Safety Month

As you can see, these five safety steps are all easy, and could save lives.  Get started today, and take a new step every couple of days – by the end of National Home Safety Month, you’ll have a much safer home.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

No comments:

Post a Comment