Tag Archive 'safety tips'

Oct 08 2013

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Prepare your Fireplace for Winter: 7 Things to Know – The House Plan Shop

FireplaceIf you enjoy the occasional fire in your wood-burning fireplace or you heat rooms in your home with a woodstove, there are a few crucial safety tips you should follow before you build your first fire this winter. Fireplaces and chimneys are involved in over 40% of home-heating fires, so take precautions before you strike up a fire to ensure your home and family are safe.

  1. Clean the chimney – Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney before winter to remove soot and debris that have built up in the chimney.
  2. Assess the chimney for damage and problems – Carefully inspect your chimney for loose bricks, missing mortar and cracks. Check the chimney liner for cracking and deterioration. Have a professional make any necessary repairs.
  3. Inspect the chimney cap – Your chimney should be covered with a cap fitted with wire-mesh sides. The cap keeps debris, rain, squirrels, birds and other critters from entering the chimney. If your cap is missing, replace it. If it is damaged, repair or replace it.
  4. Select the right wood – When burning a fire in your fireplace, it is best to burn dense and seasoned hardwoods such as oak that has been split and stored in a dry place. Burning green and soft woods such as pine produces more creosote which builds up in the chimney. (Creosote is a flammable by-product of combustion.)
  5. Stick with small fires – Build and burn small fires. They produce less smoke and therefore less creosote buildup in the chimney. Also keep in mind, fires that are too big or too hot can crack your chimney. This damage can be expensive to repair.
  6. Use kindling – When you’re trying to get your fire started, use kindling. It is very dangerous to use flammable liquids to start your fire.
  7. Protect against embers – It is not uncommon for embers to shoot out of the fireplace. Prevent this from happening by using a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. If you have a woodstove close and secure the door.

Following these tips every winter will help prevent a fireplace accident from happening and keep your family and home safe.

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Nov 28 2012

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Winter Safety Tips – The House Plan Shop

Icy DrivewayWinter is almost here. Now is the time to make yourself aware of winter hazards and the precautions you can take around your home and neighborhood to stay safe this winter. With winter usually come snow and ice hazards. Be very careful during snowy and icy weather. Below are some tips to help you avoid injury due to wintry conditions:

  1. Stay indoors if possible when snow and ice accumulates.
  2. If a snow or ice storm strikes during the overnight hours, try to alter your morning schedule. Don’t hurry of to work or school before plowing has been completed.
  3. Walk slowly and use railings when available during icy weather. If there is no railing, try walking in the snow instead of directly over icy patches on sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and streets.
  4. If you must go out in the ice and snow where boots with good traction to help you walk safely.
  5. Be alert for “black ice” on driveways, porches, sidewalks and streets. This is a thin layer of invisible ice that can form on concrete and other flat surfaces. You may think the sidewalk or driveway is clear and then step on black ice and slip. Check for black ice on walking surfaces and pavement if you see or know there was precipitation while experiencing freezing temperatures.

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Nov 13 2012

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Avoiding Holiday Hazards in the Home – The House Plan Shop

Christmas LightsThe fall and winter holiday season is quickly approaching. It is a time when homes are filled with neatly decorated trees, twinkling lights, tasty meals and treats, festive decorations and family members and friends. All of us expect this combination to yield happy memories and good times for all, but it also poses a huge risk. For instance, the US Fire Administration reports structure fires increase during the winter holidays and the dollar loss per fire is 34% greater than normal. There are numerous safety tips and informational articles available to help keep your family and home safe throughout the fall and winter holidays. Take some time to review this helpful information, so your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are enjoyable and memorable for all.

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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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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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