By Terry Orr
Home Safety Tips:
- Sound the Alarm: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. If already installed, test them! Tip: Replace the batteries every daylight-saving time change.
- Avoid Overload: Check for overloaded extension cords – usage should not exceed the recommended wattage.
- Don’t Get Tippy: If young children are in the home, bookshelves and other furniture should be firmly secured with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
- Paint Safe: Check walls for loose paint. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
- Childproof, Childproof, Childproof: Check your local library or online for complete lists of childproofing suggestions and see our Virtual Home Safety Tour for more ideas. Areas of particular danger include outlets, appliances, electronics, stairs and windows.
- Cover Outlets: Cover all unused outlets to prevent children from sticking a finger in the socket.
- Watch Cord Placement: Extension cords should not be placed under rugs or heavy furniture, tacked up or coiled while in use.
- Get Grounded: All major appliances should be grounded. Be sure to check your ground fault circuit interrupters regularly.
- Plan Your Escape: Practice a fire escape plan with your family where you identify two exits for every room and what to do with young children.
- Give Your Air Heater Some Space: All air heaters should be placed at least three feet from beds, curtains or anything flammable.
- Keep Extinguishers Handy: Place all-purpose fire extinguishers in key locations in your home – the kitchen, bedroom and basement. Be sure to check expiration dates regularly and know how to use them safely.
- Create a Safe Exit: In addition to alarms and extinguishers, consider an escape ladder if your home has two floors. Keep emergency numbers and contacts readily available by the phone.
- Unplug Appliances: Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use and store them out of reach.
- Go New in the Nursery: Check that all painted cribs, bassinettes and high chairs were made after 1978 to avoid potential lead paint poisoning.
- Cool Your Jets: Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid potential burns and to save energy.
- Put Away Medications: Take medications and medical supplies out of your purse, pockets and drawers, and put them in a cabinet with a child safety lock.
- Look for UL: The UL Mark appears on products that have been tested, verified and inspected for safety. Make sure to look for it to keep your holidays safe and bright.
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