Tag: safety

5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer 

Injuries that occur around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and tens of thousands of fatalities each year. Falls account for the largest percentage of home accidents, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that around 30,000 fall-related fatalities occur each year in the United States. Many home accidents are entirely preventable when proper caution is exercised. As homeowners prepare for home-improvement projects, improving safety inside and outside the home should be a priority.

1. LIGHTING

Improve lighting One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of falls is to improve lighting around the home. The National Institutes of Health state that adequate lighting is important at entrances to the home, stairways, hallways, and other frequently traversed areas. Make sure lighting fixtures are using the highest wattage light bulb allowed. Artificial lighting sources become even more vital in fall and autumn, when natural light is less abundant in a home. In addition, install lighting outdoors by the front door, over the garage and where garbage pails are stored to facilitate safe passage.

2. REVIEW YOUR SURFACES

Eliminate slick surfaces Improving traction around the house also can minimize falls. Throw rugs and runners can be made more secure with nonslip rubber backings. Bath rugs can reduce slipping on wet surfaces in the bathroom. Also, nonslip mats can be used inside of showers and bathtubs. Use shoe trays to reduce puddling from melting snow or rain runoff in entryways. Mop up spills quickly, and consider the use of matte- or textured-finished flooring to improve stability underfoot. Promptly remove snow and ice from driveways and walkways. For those who live in cold climates, heated concrete can help melt precipitation before it accumulates.

3. REPAIRS

Make needed repairs Repair loose floorboards and pull carpet taut if it has started to stretch out. Address cracks outdoors and ensure that patio stones, bricks and pavers are secure and level to reduce tripping hazards. Fix areas of the landscape where water may pool and freeze, creating potential hazards.

4. DECLUTTER

Declutter all spaces Remove unnecessary items and furniture from rooms to free up more space to get around. Be sure there are no obstructions in walkways, entryways and near doors. Keep staircases clear at all times.

5. REDUCE THE RISK OF FALLING

Invest in assistive devices Handrails, grab bars, nonslip stair treads, and many other devices can make homes safer for people of all ages and abilities. Outfit cabinets and closets with organizers that put frequently used items within easy reach. A sturdy step stool can reduce the risk of injury while reaching for items stored on high shelves. Taking measures to reduce the risk of falling around the home is a worthwhile home improvement project.
 
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Safety In And Around The Pool

Beating the heat in a pool is one of the most popular warm-weather activities. Swimming attracts people of all ages because of its various benefits. In addition to being an enjoyable recreational activity, swimming also is a low-impact way to exercise. Having a backyard pool makes swimming and outdoor fun that much easier.

Although exact numbers are difficult to come by, various sources indicate there are approximately 4.5 million residential swimming pools across the United States. While it once was relatively rare to find a backyard swimming pool in Canada, things have changed — especially in Quebec. No other province comes close to matching Quebec for backyard pools, which has well over 300,000 backyard pools, more than Ontario (which has five million more people). Quebec also has more pools per capita than almost anywhere else in North America according to numbers compiled by Pool & Spa Marketing magazine.

Pools can be enjoyable places to gather and make for the focal points of yards, but they require careful use so fun is not overshadowed by tragedy. Unfortunately, young children have the highest risk of pool injury or drowning, with more than 200 youngsters drowning in swimming pools each year. The American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® have partnered to educate home pool users. The following guidelines are important when adults and children are enjoying the pool.

Create pool barriers.

Preventing accidental drowning means removing easy access to pools. Pools should be surrounded by secure fencing with an automatically latching gate. Fences should not be accessible by climbing. Extra precautions like installing a safety cover on inground pools and removing or securing ladders when the pool is not in use can help as well.

Establish rules.

Each pool owner should establish their own set of rules for the pool. These can include “no running around the pool,” “no diving in a shallow pool” and “no riding toys at poolside.” Pool owners can customize rules as they pertain to safety issues in their yards.

Maintain constant supervision.

People of any age can drown. That is why it’s always safest for swimmers to swim with a buddy or with someone watching. The American Academy of Pediatrics says an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach when infants and toddlers are swimming. This is known as “touch supervision.” For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and remain free from distractions, like talking on the phone, socializing, tending to household chores, or drinking alcohol.

Use approved flotation devices.

Individuals who do not know how to swim should rely on a Coast Guard-approved flotation device. Water wings and general pool floats are not adequate, especially in situations that requires someone to be saved.

Take swimming lessons.

Knowing how to swim will not entirely remove the risk of drowning, but it certainly can reduce it. Many swim programs teach water survival skills as well as general swimming techniques.

Fun around the pool is par for the course come summer. But fun must be balanced with safety when swimming.

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Renovations for Senior Safety

As adults approach their golden years, the homes they once thought of as sanctuaries can become unsafe. Families wrestle with the decision to keep parents and grandparents in their homes or move them into assisted living facilities or other senior residences. Modifying seniors’ homes to make them safer is another option. The National Institute on Aging says that families may be able to have a senior stay at home by helping older relatives remain independent but safe. The following are a few ways to do just that.

Remove fall hazards.

The NIA reports that six out of 10 falls happen at home, where people spend the most time and fail to think about their safety. Seniors who want to be independent may overestimate their physical abilities. Because falls can be so dangerous, leading to cuts, abrasions, broken bones, and more, seniors and their families must take steps to prevent falls in homes. Improve lighting, especially at night when sight may become diminished. Install hand rails and grab bars where possible. Pick up clutter and remove tripping hazards, such as slippery rugs or electric cords. Install an electric stair climbing seat to make traversing stairs less risky.

Improve visibility and ability to communicate.

Vision loss may accompany aging, but technology can help mitigate such losses. Use big-button phones, remote controls and even keyboards so seniors can keep in touch. Voice-activated thermostats or smart home technology also can make it easier for seniors to voice their needs.

Modify fixtures and other features.

Dexterity may wane with age, and arthritis can make grasping or turning doorknobs and faucets more challenging. Take inventory of areas of the home that present the biggest obstacles to seniors. Replace knobs in the shower or on faucets with lever handles, which are easier to maneuver. Install new cabinets and doors that freely glide open and self-close. Replace toggle light switches with easier paddle-type switches that can be pushed with a hand or even arm. Motion-sensor lights also can be handy. Push-button oven controls may make cooking easier.

Prepare for medical emergencies.

Invest in medical alert systems, such as necklaces or bracelets, that can be used to contact police or emergency medical personnel directly. Make phones available in commonly used rooms in the home, such as bedrooms, the living room, bathrooms, and the kitchen.

Install ramps and nonslip flooring.

Ramps can make it easier to reach the front door or cross over elevated doorway thresholds. Nonslip flooring also can prevent falls around the house, offering more traction for feet, walkers or canes.

Repair cracks in walkways and driveways.

Safety should also extend to the outdoors. Be sure to repair cracks or uneven pavement. Replace loose patio blocks or bricks with a more stable design or with concrete or asphalt. While outdoors, trim back bushes and make sure there are no tripping hazards outside as well. A few modifications can make it possible for seniors to live comfortably in their homes for many years.

How to Stay Safe on Wintry Roads

Many people will remember the winter of 2013-14 for all the wrong reasons. Record low temperatures and heavy snowfall were the story last winter. With winter now on the horizon once again, many motorists are looking for ways to ensure their daily commutes or holiday trips to visit family and friends are as safe as possible.

When wintry conditions, including snowfall, compromise driving conditions, it’s best for motorists to stay home. But avoiding roadways altogether is not always an option, so motorists who simply must venture out onto the roadways this winter can employ the following strategies to ensure they safely arrive at their destinations.

  • Consider winter tires. Many drivers are unsure if they need winter tires. All-season tires may suffice for those drivers who live in regions where heavy snowfall is uncommon. But winter tires are designed to perform when the temperatures are especially cold and in driving conditions featuring ice, slush and snow. Drivers who live in regions where snowfall is significant or even expected to be significant may want to install winter tires just to be on the safe side. Some drivers mistakenly believe that vehicle features such as anti-lock braking systems and traction control make their tires more capable of handling wintry roads. But such features do not provide more traction. ABS and traction control only prevent drivers from over-braking or overpowering the traction of their tires. Only better tires will improve traction.
  • Drive slowly. Many drivers mistakenly believe they only need to drive slow when snow is falling. But winter weather can make roadways unsafe even in areas that have not witnessed a single snowflake fall from the sky. Wet winter roads can quickly turn into icy winter roads, and no ABS system or traction control device can prevent a car that’s traveling too fast from skidding out. Poor visibility is another reason to drive slowly in winter. Peripheral vision is often compromised when driving in winter, as dirt, salt or sand buildup on windshields and side windows and mirrors can make it hard for motorists to fully view their surroundings. Even if your vision is not compromised, a fellow motorist’s might be. So ease up on the gas pedal in winter so you have more time to react to potentially adverse conditions.
  • Don’t drive too closely to other motorists. In addition to driving slowly, motorists also should leave extra room between their vehicles and the vehicles in front of them. In such conditions, for every 10 miles per hour drive a minimum of four car lengths behind the motorist in front of you. So if you are driving 50 miles per hour, be sure to leave 20 car lengths between you and the car ahead of you. This gives you ample time to react and builds in some extra response time should your visibility be compromised.
  • Maintain your vehicle. A vehicle should be maintained regardless of the season, but it’s especially important that your vehicle perform at its peak in winter. A vehicle’s battery and windshield wipers are a winter driver’s best friend, but only if they are operating at optimal capacity. Being stranded on a roadside in winter is more dangerous than in any other time of year. That’s because driver visibility is more compromised in winter, and it can be hard for motorists to see or avoid vehicles on the side of the road. Maintain proper fluid levels and make sure your battery is charged and the gas tank is full before making any winter trips.

Wintry conditions often make driving especially hazardous. But drivers who adopt certain habits when driving in winter can greatly reduce their risk of accidents.

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Sparklers and Safety Risks of Fireworks

Fireworks tend to be most prevalent during the summertime. Elaborate pyrotechnic displays may be part of Independence Day celebrations or other special events. Individuals also may set off fireworks to light up the night skies for private parties.

Although parents will warn children against going too close to fireworks, many do not share the same apprehension about sparklers. Sparklers are thin metal rods that have been dipped in a special, flammable pyrotechnic substance and allowed to dry. When lit, a sparkler will throw off, as the name implies, sparks of twinkling light until the sparkler is extinguished. Sparklers may seem safe for little hands, but like other fireworks, sparklers can be dangerous.

spark1A sparkler can reach 3,662 F (2,000 C) when lit. That is 20 times the boiling point of water, a level of heat that is enough to melt steel. In fact, three sparklers burning together can generate the same amount of heat as a blow torch. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says roughly 240 people visit the emergency room every day in the month of July with fireworks-related injuries.

Common sense should prevail whenever anyone is handling sparklers. If children are allowed to hold sparklers, it should only be under close adult supervision. Other safety tips can help ensure events where sparklers are being used remain injury-free.


· Sparklers should be stored in cool, dry places until they are used.

· Leather gloves can protect hands while sparklers are being lit and held.

· Do not light and hold more than one sparkler at a time.

· Sparklers can stay hot for a while after they have been extinguished. Put the hot end down into a bucket of water when finished.

· Sparklers may not be legal where you live. Know the laws before purchasing sparklers or other fireworks.

· Children under the age of five should never be given sparklers to hold, nor should adults hold a lit sparkler while holding a baby. Glow sticks are safer alternatives for young kids.

· Hold sparklers at arms’ length to avoid burns.

· Do not bring sparklers to public events, as sparklers amid large crowds can pose a safety risk.

· Do not wave or run with lit sparklers.

Sparklers may seem like safe alternatives to more traditional fireworks. But it’s important to exercise caution with sparklers, especially when young children are nearby.


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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween can be an exciting time for kids and family to celebrate creativity and the changing of the seasons. Okay, and let’s not forget the candy!! When heading out to go trick-or-treating, there are a few simple safety tips that can make all the difference:

• Trick or treat as a family: Stay in a group and have small children accompanied by a responsible adult
• Plan your route: Planning ahead can help save time and confusion in case anyone would go missing
• Designate a meet-up spot: If someone gets separated from the group, everyone will be on the same page of where to meet up
• Reflective gear: Make sure you are visible – Carry a flashlight, glow stick and/or wear reflective patches on your costume/jacket.
• Candy check: Tell kids not to eat candy until they have let a responsible adult double-check. Look for any torn wrappers, opened packages and unfamiliar items.

For more helpful Halloween tips, visit the following recommended links:
http://www.halloween-safety.com/
http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/
http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Halloween.shtml