National Safety Month: Create a Safe Haven at Home

By Rodney Twyford, NPI Franchise Owner, San Antonio, Texas

Family + HouseWe like to think of our homes as a safe haven where we escape the dangers of the outside world, but it may surprise you to know that in the United States, more than 20,000 deaths, 7 million disabling injuries and 20 million hospital trips are reported to occur around the home front each year.

June is National Safety Month in the United States and Canada, so in light of those staggering statistics, here are the five leading causes of injuries around the home and some things to think about to help keep your family safe and prevent unintentional injuries.

Don’t Let Falls Trip You Up
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 8 million people are injured due to falls every year, and no it’s not the children and elderly. Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in people ages 25 to 54.

Here are some ways to help prevent falls at home:

  • Always use the proper tool in good condition for the job. A chair is not a ladder.
  • Always be aware of your pet, small children and related toys. A good percentage of falls are due to pets – and mainly dogs.
  • Be sure your throw rugs are in good condition and do not slip across the floor.
  • Avoid wearing socks on hardwood or like floor surfaces.
  • Keep rooms well lit, and consider installing motion-sensing switches if the light switch is not in a convenient location.
  • Consider installing grab bars and a nonslip mat inside and outside wet areas, such as showers and porches.
  • Always read the label on medications and how they react when combined with other drugs.
  • Keep your eyeglass prescription updated.

Secure Heavy Items
Another safety concern around the home is items falling and causing injury, such as furniture and mainly television sets. Quite often, TV sets are found to be sitting on top of a dresser or entertainment center that is not secured. If a dresser or other piece of furniture is used, it as well as the TV should be anchored to the wall. The fall typically occurs when a piece of furniture gets bumped during horseplay or as a result of a child’s naturally adventurous nature to climb.

Prevent Accidental Poisoning
The second leading cause of accidental death or injury in the home is poisoning. Nearly 5,000 people die each year from ingesting poisonous substances, overdosing or using prescription medicines improperly. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations for taking medicine, and avoid mixing medications with alcoholic beverages.

All medicine and poisonous substances — such as those for pest control, weed control and household cleaning supplies — should be stored in lockable cabinets for child safety. For more information or if you suspect accidental poisoning, call the Poison Help hotline at 800.222.1222.

Prevent Fires and Burns
Burn injuries are also high on the list, with nearly 3,000 lives claimed annually due to house fires. Fires in the home are typically caused by cooking, electrical circuits, dryer vents and poorly maintained water heaters and furnaces.

Never leave a cooktop unattended, especially when small children are present. If you experience lights flickering, a burning smell or suspect an electrical circuit is not working properly, you should consult a qualified electrician to evaluate the concern and address it as necessary to avoid possible fires. Dryer vents, especially those that run vertically, should be cleaned regularly, and all water heaters and furnaces should be properly serviced annually to be sure they are in good condition.

Your home should also be well-equipped with smoke alarms located inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and at least one on each story level. Test smoke alarms monthly to be sure they are working properly. Contact a certified inspector at National Property Inspections or Global Property Inspections to be sure your appliances meet all new safety standards.

Keep Kids Safe
Airway obstructions are next on the list with nearly 1,000 people each year suffering from choking, suffocation and strangulation in the home, most involving children. Always place infants in a crib free of stuffed animals and loose blankets. Older children should never sleep with small objects that can be swallowed.

Secure Pool and Spa Areas
The fifth leading cause of accidents around the home is drowning, with nearly 800 fatalities reported each year. The most vulnerable are children and the elderly — they should never be left unattended around pools and even bathtubs. Be sure your pool and spa areas are securely locked with a fence barrier at least 4-feet high. Contact a certified inspector at National Property Inspections or Global Property Inspections for more information regarding proper pool safety. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water, so just let the phone ring and don’t run off to answer the door — your child’s life may depend on it.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Diving Into Summer Safety

Submitted by Rodney Twyford, NPI Franchise Owner, San Antonio, Texas

Pool_shutterstock_190087664Playing outside is a great way for kids to exercise and have fun. However, backyards can be full of potential dangers. Almost all tragic accidents that occur during summer fun with family and friends are a result of unsafe property conditions and lack of adult supervision. Nothing harms a relationship more than an injury or death while enjoying the festivities at your property. This article is intended to help identify unsafe conditions and equipment failure, and improve the overall safety of your guests.

As I am certain you have already guessed, swimming pools are a common safety risk that attracts kids like a magnet. According to the National Safety Council, drowning is the leading cause of death and injury of children under 5 years of age. So, if you or somebody you know has a swimming pool, below are some “quick safety tips” to prevent unintentional injuries.

  • Always practice constant adult supervision around any body of water, including pools, spas and, yes, even that little inflatable pool. Kids can drown in less than 2 inches of water in a matter of minutes.
  • All openings, including doors and windows, to the pool or spa area should be outfitted with an alarm to alert parents or guardians of children accessing hazardous areas.
  • All pools holding more than 24 inches of water are required to be surrounded by a proper barrier with self-closing and self-latching gates opening outward, as well as meeting all other current standards, to guard against unauthorized entry.
  • Be sure no rocks, furniture or other items are located around the outside barrier that kids could climb on to gain access to pool area. If you have an above-ground pool, the ladder should be removed and access to all decks around pool locked when not in use.
  • Have a designated and visible place near the pool for life-saving devices to include a through float, life-hook and portable telephone.
  • Twyford BlogMake sure drain covers are properly fitted and free of fractures. If the pool was built prior to 2007 and has a single bottom drain, then it may not have an anti-entrapment drain cover or other suction-release device installed. This is currently only regulated with public pools that are required to be in compliance with ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 2007; however, all necessary precautions should be taken to help prevent accidental entrapments.
  • Maintain a clean pool and adjust water chemistry as necessary for safe, healthy use. Improperly balanced water and chemical levels could cause eye and skin irritations. Spa water temperatures should be set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid elevated body temperature, which could lead to drowsiness, unconsciousness, heat stroke or even death.
  • Check all tiles, coping and other features around the pool for hazards. All components should be secure and free of sharp edges that could cause injury.
  • Be sure that all metal components, likely to become energized in the event of lightening and/or an electrical short, are properly bonded. Often, bonds can become loose or corroded and need to be repaired.
  • Set up all furniture out from around the pool edge to help prevent trips and falls that could result in liability risk to the property owner.
  • If you are grilling, have a designated grilling area as a “No Play Zone,” and keep youngsters and pets well away until grill equipment is entirely cool.
  • Do not allow any electrical cord devices or glass containers to be used around water. Be sure that all exterior electrical outlets are GFCI-protected.
  • It is always a good idea to post a “Pool Rules” sign for your guests to acknowledge and hopefully avoid any awkward enforcements.

Please understand this is not a pool inspection checklist and does not even begin to scratch the surface of all areas inspected by National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections. To contact your local inspector, click here in the United States or click here in Canada.

Tagged: , , , , ,

Swimming Pool Alarm Systems Can Save Lives

Pool_shutterstock_154786868You probably have uncovered the pool for summer, so that means pool safety is a top concern. Children could be in danger of drowning if they are left unattended and fall into a swimming pool.

One solution to ensure pool safety is a pool alarm system. These systems reside in the water and detect waves and ripples, sounding an alarm when the pool’s surface is disturbed by a person or animal. Swimming pool alarms are designed to detect large objects dropped into a pool, so things like leaves will not trigger them. When an object is dropped into the pool, the alarm sounds to let homeowners know that someone is in the pool. Some states even require this safety feature in every pool.

If you have a pool and children in your home or homes nearby, you might consider implementing a pool alarm this year. It could save a life.

Tagged: , , , ,