Maintaining a Safe Home: What to Do and Things to Watch Out For

installing a fire alarm

With the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant, people across the United States are opting to still stay home most of the time for safety. As of the start of October, deaths from COVID-19 Delta averaged 2,000 a week nationwide. You must realize, however, that even at home there are dangers that can be life-threatening. It is vital to look out for these and address them immediately. Even better, prevent them from happening.

Fires at Home

Home fires are devastating. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in 2020, 26 percent of the 1.4 million fires called in happened in homes. They resulted in 74 percent of all fire casualties and 79 percent of all fire injuries. An update from the American Red Cross states that in the first quarter of 2021, home fires increased in frequency by 16 percent over the first quarter of 2020. There were 2,300 additional fires or 17,000 home fires in those three months alone. More than 70,000 people were affected.

Fires caused by unattended cooking are the most prevalent. The NFPA states that you must never leave anything cooking on the stove when you are out of the kitchen. Oven cooking needs regular checking if you leave the kitchen from time to time. If oil or grease catches fire, do not douse it with water or the flames will spread. Put a lid over the pan and turn off the stove.

Electricals and home appliances can also cause fires. A professional electrician must check the home’s entire electrical system to ensure that it is compatible with the homeowners’ needs and that all wirings are safe. Appliances must be plugged directly into wall sockets rather than extension cords. Turn off the home’s main power supply at the first sign of an electrical problem. Do not turn it back on until after a professional electrician has worked on the issue.

Hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service quarterly to prevent lint from accumulating in your dryer’s vent. Hire a professional furnace cleaner yearly to prevent debris from accumulating in your furnace vent. Both can cause fires when clogged.

Install a fire alarm with a sprinkler in every room and check each one monthly. According to the American Red Cross, you must escape from a burning house within two minutes to avoid death. All residents must, therefore, practice several escape routes from every room in the house.

burning house

Injuries and Ingestion of Harmful Substances

A study published at Biomed Central (BMC), states that in the early part of the pandemic up to June 29, 2020 alone, 28 percent of households reported either an injury or harmful ingestion of substances in the home. Of these, 13 percent of households experienced both. Among the injuries, 32 percent were from falls. Among the harmful ingestion, six percent were of medications and four percent were of household products. Households with children had a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing a case of injury or harmful ingestion.

Keep medicines and household products, as well as dangerous objects such as knives, out of reach of children or locked away. If there is a toddler in the house, use a childproof gate at the top and bottom of the stairs. Do not leave toddlers unattended.

Air Quality in the Home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 50,000 Americans seek emergency room assistance due to carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. About 430 Americans die from it annually. Carbon monoxide can leak from gas-fueled appliances and equipment. These must, therefore, be checked regularly by professionals.

Since this gas is odorless and colorless, it is crucial to install a carbon monoxide detector in every room of the house and check each one monthly. The alarm must be loud enough to wake people who are asleep. If there is carbon monoxide in the home, the residents must evacuate immediately.

Lead is another poison that may be present in houses painted before 1978, water pipes installed before 1986, and plumbing soldered before 1988. It causes neurological problems and developmental delays in children, cancer, reproductive disorders, and miscarriage. If you live in an old house, hire a professional to do an inspection. If lead is found, you need to hire a certified lead abatement company to do the needed renovation for removal. Residents must not be on the premises during the work period.

Another problem with old homes is the possible presence of asbestos in insulation, roofing, sidings, and some types of textured paint. When inert, it is relatively harmless. When disturbed, however, such as during repairs or renovation, asbestos releases fibers that when inhaled can cause lung cancer or other lung diseases. Hire an expert to check your home for asbestos. If it is found, hire an expert to remove it or seal it in place.

While the home keeps you safe from the outside world, you must also ensure that it is kept safe for its occupants. Stay as vigilant against indoor dangers as you are against the external environment.

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