Common home safety issues (BPT) - For many Americans, “home” evokes warmth, comfort, security and safety. But while home may be sweet, statistics show it’s far from safe. From falls and other types of accidents to fires and poor indoor air quality, home can be a dangerous place - so it’s important to make simple home improvements that can help minimize avoidable home safety and health risks. Falls Falls are the leading type of accident that sends people of all ages to the emergency room, each year, and they’re particularly dangerous for older people and very young children, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Simple changes to When painting choose low or no-VOC paints. Conyour home can help reduce the risk of someone falling: sider removing carpets if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Good ventilation can make a home more com• Make sure all stairways are equipped with handrails fortable and the air inside it healthier. You can improve that are securely fixed to the wall. ventilation in a variety of ways, including by installing fresh air skylights. In addition to venting stale indoor air • Outfit bathrooms used by seniors with grab bars in through passive ventilation, shower and toilet areas. Fires • Provide adequate lighting for when people move Each year, thousands of Americans are killed or inaround at night, especially in stairways, hallways and jured in home fires, according to data from the National bathrooms. The same is true during the day, especially Fire Protection Association. Yet homeowners can do a for older adults and for anyone with reduced vision. Tra- lot to reduce the risk of a fire occurring: ditional or tubular skylights can bring abundant natural light into these and other areas of the home. • Every home should be equipped with smoke alarms. If your home is older, it may not already have • Remove or tack down area rugs to reduce the risk alarms. Add them - smoke alarms reduce the risk of someone will catch a toe and trip. home fire fatality by half, according to the NFPA. If you do have smoke alarms, but they’re old, replace them • To prevent small children from falling out of win- with newer models, and consider the investment of dows, install window guards with an emergency re- having your home hard-wired with alarms. lease device in case of fire. • Replace old electrical wiring and appliances • Use safety straps when placing babies and young they’re a leading cause of home fires. children in high chairs, carriers or swings, and never leave a child alone while he or she is strapped in to a • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, use a safety device. screen to catch sparks and prevent burning material from rolling out. Indoor air quality While you may think of pollution as an outdoor prob• Finally, if you’re building a new home or renovating lem, the air inside your home can actually host more an existing one, consider adding a home fire sprinkler harmful irritants than outside air, according to research system. According to the NFPA, they reduce the by the Environmental Protection Agency. Air pollution chance of someone dying in a home fire by 80 percent. has been linked to a host of health problems, from res- When installed during new construction, a home fire piratory ailments like allergies and asthma, to sprinkler system costs about $1.35 per square foot of headaches and even depression. Several home up- covered space, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition says, grades can help improve air quality inside your home. noting that’s about what you would pay to upgrade your carpeting. 46 | all about home/fall-winter 2015 page
Great ideas for your home!