Archive for the 'Home Safety' Category

Aug 24 2011

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The House Plan Shop – Kitchen Safety Tips

House Plan 027H-0163The kitchen is the heart of most homes and the hub of all types of activities from preparing meals to doing homework and enjoying conversation with family and friends. It is also the room where two-thirds of home fires start. Review this list of kitchen safety tips to identify and correct potential hazards in your home before it is too late.

 

  1. Locate all appliances away from the sink or any other water source.
  2. Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces, like the range or coffee maker, and away from wet surfaces.
  3. Only plug counter top appliances into GFCI-protected outlets.
  4. Do not use appliances that have been wet.
  5. Unplug all counter top appliances when not in use.
  6. Do not leave counter top appliances on when unattended.
  7. Clean the stove and oven regularly. Also be sure to clean the exhaust hood over the stove.
  8. Keep the cooking area surrounding the stove and oven free of combustibles like hand towels, pot holders, paper towels and recipe books. 
  9. Do not leave something cooking on the stove top or in the oven when unattended.
  10. Give the refrigerator room to breathe. Make sure there is enough room behind the refrigerator to let the air circulate.
  11. Vacuum refrigerator coils every two or three months to eliminate dirt and dust build up that reduces efficiency and can become a potential hazard.

 

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to practicing fire safety in your kitchen.

 

For more information on how to be safe at home, check out our Home Safety Blogs.

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Jul 14 2011

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Electrical Safety: What is a GFCI? – The House Plan Shop

Filed under Home Safety

GFCI ReceptacleIf you are building a new house, you may have heard your builder, contractor or electrician mention a GFCI. Do you know what a GFCI is and why it is necessary it install them in your home?

 

A GFCI is a ground fault circuit interrupter. It is a device designed to protect people from electric shock and electrocution. This simple device constantly monitors the electricity flowing through an electrical circuit and will quickly switch off power to that circuit if any loss of current occurs.

 

GFCI receptacles are required by electrical code and standard in areas of the home where water may come into contact with products and appliances that require electricity to operate such as the toaster, hair dryer and power tools. The areas of the home where the use of GFCIs is standard include bathrooms, the kitchen, garage and basement.

 

If you are not sure if GFCIs are being used in the construction of your new home, find out immediately by checking with your builder, contractor or electrician. Make sure your home doesn’t become a fire hazard.

 

For more safety tips and advice about home safety, check out our Home Safety Blogs.

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Feb 23 2011

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The House Plan Shop: 6 Reasons to Use a Safe at Home

Home SafesMany people use a home safe to protect valuables from burglars. With home burglaries, burglars generally break into a home and leave within minutes taking all the items that are easily accessible like money, purses, jewelry, small electronics, wallets, guns, and anything else that is easy to “grab and go.” Many of the most commonly stolen items would be inaccessible to burglars if they were securely stored away in a home safe. But other than keeping your valuables safe from criminals, there are a number of other reasons to keep your things locked away in a home safe.

 

Below is a list of other good reasons to use a home safe:

 

1.    Safes are a great place to store prescription medications, especially when they are purchased in large quantities such as a three-month supply.

2.    They are a great place to store valuables and keep them out of the reach of children.

3.    Home safes provide a secure place to store important documents such as passports, health records, insurance policies, bank account information, etc.

4.    Some home safes are large enough to store guns allowing you to have access to your firearms without compromising the safety of the occupants of the home.

5.    Safes can protect important documents and valuables from fire and flooding.

6.    Wall safes offer reliable storage that can be hidden completely out of site.

 

Today’s home safes are available in a variety of models offering convenient entry systems that do not require keys. They come in a range of sizes allowing you to select the one that is right for your needs. With a home safe, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your valuables are securely stored in an easy-to-access place. Think of a home safe as a more convenient safe deposit box because you have 24-hour access.

 

Don’t let a potential burglary at your home become a crime of opportunity. Burglars usually take only the items that are left out in the open and easy to carry. Home safes help prevent “in-and-out” burglaries and deliver an all-purpose, secure containment solution for all your important belongings and documents.

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Jan 19 2011

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11 Bathroom Safety Tips – The House Plan Shop

House Plan 053H-0054 Masterbath PhotoDangers exist all around the home. Unless you have proper safety precautions in place, you, your family and your guests might be in danger. Besides the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home, and it is necessary to practice bathroom safety to ensure everyone’s well being. The bathroom safety tips listed below shouldn’t be ignored. Recognizing potential bathroom dangers and practicing bathroom safety will prevent accidents in your home. The House Plan Shop recommends reviewing the following 11 bathroom safety tips:

 

1.    Make sure all of your bathrooms have adequate lighting during the day and a nightlight to illuminate the room at night preventing trips, slips and falls.

2.    Electrical items in the bathroom can lead to deadly accidents. Do not plug in electrical items in an area where water is present including outlets near the sink, toilet, shower and bathtub. One wrong move could send your plugged-in electrical item into the water causing electrocution.

3.    Mop or dry up accumulated water on the floor or counter tops and inspect both surfaces after bathing, brushing teeth and washing hands. Puddles on the floor can cause someone to slip and fall. Standing water on the floor or counter top is cause for electrocution as mentioned in Tip 2.

4.    Use ground-fault circuit interrupters in areas where water is present. (This is a good idea in the kitchen too.)  An electrician can install them for you. They will prevent you from being shocked should electricity and water meet.

5.    Prevent burns by setting the water heater at or below 120 degrees F. Also, consider installing anti-scald faucets in sinks, bathtubs and showers.

6.    Use slip resistant mats in and around wet floors and in the bathtub and/or shower. Purchase mats with a non-slip backing to prevent slips and falls on the bathroom floor or when stepping in an out of the bathtub and shower.

7.    Consider installing grab bars near the toilet, shower and bathtub. They make it easier to stand after using the toilet and get in and out of the tub and shower safely particularly for seniors and disabled people. Do not use a soap dish, towel rack, or door knob as a grab bar.

8.    If small children are in the home, keep the toilet lid closed as well as the bathroom door. You might even want to install a lock on the outside of the bathroom door out of reach of small children and keep the bathroom locked at all times. It doesn’t take much water to drown a child. Children have been known to drown in no more than an inch of water and an open toilet is looming hazard to a curious child.

9.    Cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of children. Most cleaners can be poisonous to children, so keep cleaning supplies under lock and key.   

10.  Likewise, do not keep medications in the medicine cabinet if there are children in the home. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Child-proof lids may deter a child in most cases, but a very determined child can still manage to get medicine bottles and containers open.

11.  Don’t forget about tweezers, manicure scissors, pointed nail files, nail polish remover, etc. Keep these items out of reach of children.

 

With a little common sense and these bathroom safety tips, you’ll be able to keep family and friends safe when using your bathroom.

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Jan 10 2011

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The House Plan Shop: Crash-Testing Residential Construction to Improve Strength and Safety

You’ve heard of the crash-test dummies used to test the safety of automobiles. Home insurance companies recently began using this concept to “crash-test” residential construction. The goal is to provide insight, feedback and concrete evidence about home construction that will help devise new disaster-proof construction practices for home building. Home insurance companies can sponsor a test chamber that simulates severe weather conditions and the effect they have on model houses. For example, tests can simulate Mother Nature’s harshest weather conditions by inflicting gale-force winds, torrential rains, hail, fire and debris. The chief engineer for the Institute for Business and Home Safety, Time Reinhold, says “This is an opportunity to create demand for better construction.” The IBHS lab is designed to subject model homes to simulated weather conditions typical of a Category 2 or Category 3 hurricane such as 140 mph winds produced by fans, hail created by freezing water in different size molds, fire produced by blazing embers (burning mulch hurled by fans), open gas lines and burning shrubs and trees, and rain with up to 8” per hour produced by sprinklers.

 

The IBHS’s test facility debuted in October of 2010 with two test homes side-by-side. One was built to typical building codes used in the Midwest. The other one incorporated structural reinforcements and more durable materials. The results were impressive with the reinforced home suffering only cosmetic damage while the standard-code home collapsed in minutes.

 

The results were clear. It is worth investing in reinforced construction when it comes to durability and safety. For more information about cost and additional details, review this “crash-test” article.

 

Source: Crash-Test Homes Show Value of Better Construction, by Clare Kaufman

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