Archive for the 'Home Safety' Category

Dec 07 2010

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The House Plan Shop: 5 Holiday Safety Tips

Step StoolThe holidays are approaching quickly and it is easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season, but this is no time to let your guard down when it comes to following safe practices. The House Plan Shop has five holiday safety tips for you to review. Keep them in mind this holiday season.

 

1.    Practice Fire Safety – Most residential fires occur during the winter months and with extra activities to attend and plenty of family and friends stopping by to visit, it is easy to forget about fire safety. If you burn candles in your home, keep them away from holiday trees, curtains, blankets, and walking paths such as the hallway and other high traffic areas. Most importantly keep them out of reach of children and pets. Do not leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles and stoves unattended. Do not use grills, generators or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, including the garage and basement. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

2.    Prevent Injuries – Injuries can occur anywhere at any time including during the holidays. Use a step stool instead of furniture when hanging holiday decorations. Make sure your ladder is secure before climbing to the rooftop to hang holiday lights. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

3.    Keep an Eye on the Kids – With so much happening during the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in a conversation with Aunt Jane whom you haven’t seen since last year or have fun participating in the events at a holiday party. But remember if the kids are with you, you must keep a watchful eye. Whether they are eating, playing or watching a movie with their cousins in the other room, you should know what your kids are doing at all times. Keep potentially dangerous items such as toys, food, drinks and other hazardous household items out of reach. Make sure toys and game pieces are used properly. If your kids have any food allergies, make sure to check out all food items and drinks that are served at any holiday gathering you attend and help your child make healthy decisions about what to eat.

4.    Practice Travel Safety – Whether your holiday travels take you across town or completely across the country, practice safe travel habits. Do not drink and drive. Always buckle up. Make sure your child is properly fastened in his/her car seat, booster seat or just buckled in properly according to child safety laws. Also, make sure your car is in good working order and be prepared for inclement weather.

5.    Be Healthy – The holidays can make it hard to follow your normal daily routine, so make sure you continue to practice good habits for your health. Wash hands often. Dress warm in cold climates and stay dry. Cook foods to their proper temperatures. Make sure to schedule some down time in your busy schedule to relax and regroup. Most importantly make sure the whole family gets plenty of rest.

 

These simple tips will help ensure you and your family will enjoy a safe holiday season.

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Dec 01 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 7 Tips for Protecting your Home During the Holidays

020H-0003 House PlanWith the holidays quickly approaching, our focus turns toward celebrating the joys of the season making it easy to forget the holiday season is also a time or opportunity for potential burglars. So, while you are preparing for upcoming dinner parties and holiday gatherings, don’t forget to take time to protect your home. According to a retired veteran of the police force many people let their guard down during the holiday season thinking crime won’t happen to them. In reality, all of us are at risk.

 

So what can you do to protect your home? Below are seven tips to help protect your home and belongings during the holiday season.

 

1.    Get in the habit of changing your view on safety every year when you start changing your everyday home décor to holiday themes. And better still, modesty and simplicity is the best policy. Expensive holiday decorations and elaborate holiday light displays can signal to criminals there may be valuables inside your home making it worth the criminal’s time to break-in. Furthermore, leaving wrapped gifts under the tree in full view from exterior windows and doors make a welcome invitation for thieves. Instead of placing packages under the tree, keep them tucked away in closets and attics out of sight until the last minute. This is one of the easiest safety precautions to follow.

2.    Keep your home well-lit and well-groomed inside and out. Not only will your home look nice from the street but it is an important safety measure. The more lighting you have in your home and yard, the less places for criminals and thieves to lurk and hide. In addition, tree branches should be trimmed up at least six feet off the ground and shrubs and bushes trimmed down to no more than three feet tall. This allows a clear view of your yard from inside the house and from the street minimizing places for burglars and thieves to hide.

3.    Whether you are at home or out on a quick trip to the grocery store, keep all windows and doors locked including the garage door and the service door between the garage and the home. Burglars know the holiday season is an opportune time for breaking-in as many homes have extra valuables inside not to mention extra cash on hand.

4.    If you plan on traveling for the holidays take advantage of a home security system if possible. If you already have one, you’re in good shape. If you don’t have a home security system, consider installing one. It is a worthwhile investment. If you cannot afford a security system, set your lights and TVs on timers. Have them turn on and off in various parts of the home throughout the day and evening. Ask a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance that someone is coming and going from your home. Also ask a neighbor to collect the mail and newspapers or stop these services during the time you will be traveling. Notify your local police department and them know the dates you’ll be gone. Ask them to drive past your house occasionally. If you decide have a neighbor park in your driveway, identify the vehicle to the police.

5.    If you are traveling during the holiday season, only mention your trip to those who absolutely must know you’ll be gone. Likewise, do not post this information via social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t take much legwork for potential burglars to identify you and figure out your address.

6.    In a similar manner, do not mention valuable gifts using social media. A post like, “Got a 52-inch flat screen,” becomes common knowledge instantly. If a criminal is watching your house, the minute you leave to go to work, the post office or a holiday party, your new flat screen is as good as gone.

7.    And for those who don’t use social media, don’t be so sure the public doesn’t know about your 52-inch flat screen. As soon as you put the empty box next to the trash can at the curb, the whole neighborhood will know what is inside your house. Be cautious when throwing away packaging from “big ticket” items. Burglars know what to look for. If they notice any packaging from valuable items with your curbside trash, you are inviting them inside. Instead of throwing away the whole box, break the box down. Cut it up in smaller pieces and dispose of it a little bit at a time as not to draw attention to it. If you can, recycle a few pieces of the box each week instead of throwing it away.   

 

While you may be looking forward to celebrating the holiday season, The House Plan Shop recommends you add these home safety precautions to your holiday “to-do” list.

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Oct 06 2010

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The House Plan Shop: 5 Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Week

Fire ExtinguisherThis week is fire prevention week. The House Plan Shop has some safety tips to share with you helping to protect you, your family, your home and your pets from potential. Be smart and follow fire prevention practices.

 

1.    Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors are an important tool in helping save lives in home fires. Install them on every floor of your home and right outside the sleeping areas. Install the smoke detectors according to the manufacturer’s directions and test them on a weekly basis. Batteries should be replaced two times a year. A good rule of thumb is to replace batteries when daylight savings time begins and ends (each time you set your clocks back or forward one hour.) Also replace batteries when the smoke detector chirps signaling the battery is dead. Never remove batteries from the detectors or disconnect them.

2.    Create an Escape Plan for Your Family and Practice: When a fire breaks out in your home it is necessary to get out fast. Spend time with the entire family planning two ways to get out of every room in the event of a home fire. Decide on a meeting place outside of the home whether it is a neighbor’s driveway or the bus stop on the corner and instruct the entire family to meet at the designated place should a home fire occur. Once you are out of the house, DO NOT go back inside. Practice your escape plan with the whole family at least twice a year.

3.    Get a Fire Extinguisher and Know How to Use It: Purchase a fire extinguisher for home use and learn how to use it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Sometimes, in the event of a small fire, having and using a fire extinguisher can make a huge difference in saving your home and belongings until the fire department arrives. (Note: Do not expect a fire extinguisher to put out large house fires. Instead, exit the building immediately and wait for the fire department.) If you have a large house with multiple levels, you might consider having a fire extinguisher on each level. Put it/them in places that are easy to access but out of reach of small children.

4.    Know and Practice the STOP, DROP and ROLL Rule: This is a simple rule even small children can learn. If your clothes or body catch on fire, do not run. Stop where you are, drop to the floor and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover your face with your hands to protect it and help prevent smoke inhalation or lung damage.  

5.    Crawl Low Below Smoke: If you should encounter smoke using your primary exit route in the event of a fire, use your alternate route instead. If you must move through smoke to exit, get down on your hands and knees and crawl to the exit. Clean air will be several inches off the floor. 

Following these fire safety practices will increase your chances of escaping death or injury in a fire. Look for more information about fire safety and prevention in another upcoming blog.

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Sep 29 2010

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The House Plan Shop – Facts about Home Fires and Smoke Alarms

House FireOctober 3-9 is 2010’s Fire Prevention Week. The House Plan Shop is doing our part to raise awareness about fire safety. Below is a list of facts about home fires and smoke alarms as reported by the National Fire Prevention Association.

 

·         Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and injuries.

·         Working smoke alarms cut the risk of death in a reported fire by 50%.

·         Approximately 75% of all homes in the United States have at least one working smoke alarm.

·         Nearly 3000 people die in the US every year in home fires.

·         Smoking is the #1 cause of fire deaths.

·         Heating is the second leading cause of house fires.

·         Between 2003-2006, nearly 66% of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes that did not have a smoke alarm or did not have a working smoke alarm.

·         Electrical malfunctions and failures are factors in nearly 50,000 reported fires every year.

·         According to a 2008 survey, only 12% of participants knew smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

·         In 2008, someone was injured in a reported home fire every 40 minutes.

·         In 2008, approximately eight people died in home fires every day.

·         In 2008, a fire department responded to a home fire every 82 seconds.

 

Keeping these stunning facts in mind, it is time to practice fire prevention at home. Watch for our upcoming blog about fire prevention and fire safety at home. We don’t want you, your family or your home to become another statistic on this list.

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Nov 12 2009

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Garage Storage Safety Tips

Garage StorageOften the garage is a catch-all for the many items we need to store, but don’t know exactly where to put them. In most cases, the garage is the ideal storage space. However, sometimes storing chemicals and tools in the garage can be dangerous and even hazardous to your health. These garage storage tips will help you determine what items are safe to store in the garage and how to store them without threatening your heath, harming your family or causing damage to your new home.

 

Chemicals

·         Road salt and ice-melt mixtures can be very harmful to children and pets. Store these items in childproof, non-spill containers. Place them on a high shelf, in a high cabinet or in a locked garage closet out of reach of children.

·         Do not store auto fluids, paints or pesticides in old food containers or containers that do not have tightly sealed lids or caps. These containers might leak causing burns, fumes, respiratory problems and fire hazards.

·         Sweet smelling anti-freeze may be very attractive to pets, but it can kill them. As little as one tablespoon can make your pet (or child) very sick or even be deadly to cats and small dogs. Make sure caps are sealed tightly on all anti-freeze bottles and store out of reach of children and pets.

·         Propane is extremely combustible. A single spark of static electricity or flip of the light switch could ignite nearby propane causing an explosion. It is necessary to store propane containers and anything that uses propane away from the home in a storage shed, detached garage or other outbuilding. Do not store propane in your attached garage.

·         Get in the habit of storing all chemicals in their original containers complete warning labels so you know what is inside and what dangers or threats each may pose. Store these in a safe place out of reach from children where they will not fall or spill. Chemicals are best stored away from the home in a detached garage or a shed rather than in an attached garage.

 

Ladders, Tools and Other Items

·         Ladders should be stored against a wall or at floor level using storage hooks to secure them. Ladders stored vertically or not securely fastened to the wall can easily tip or fall harming people and damaging property.

·         Store lawn and garden tools and other small hand tools such as pliers, a hammer or screw drivers in a secure place such as a toolbox. Lock the tool box if possible.

·         Store tools, especially those with sharp blades and points, out of reach from children. However, be sure they are easily accessible to you without having to balance tools overhead or reach dangerously overhead.

·         Use peg board and hooks to hang long-handled items on the garage wall such as shovels and rakes. Secure them tightly to the wall.

·         Make sure all power tools are turned off before storing after each use.

·         Place heavy and bulky tools and items on low shelves or on the floor preventing them from falling. Make sure all sharp points and edges face the wall preventing someone from getting hurt if they bump into the sharp and pointed edges.

·         Check all extension cords that are stored or used in the garage to be sure they are rated for outdoor use due to possible moisture. Those not rated for outdoor use are a potential hazard.

 

Read more home safety tips from The House Plan Shop.

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