HOME SAFETY

 

                                                             ELECTRICAL                                                         

 

Cords

Scorched cord
  1. Always replace worn electrical cords or plugs before they become a hazard; they are responsible for far too many household fires.
  2. Keep cords to lamps, appliances, TVs, etc., out of high-traffic areas. Many mishaps occur because children and adults trip on cords or accidentally pull cords, causing items to be pulled down on top of them.
  3. Never run extension cords or wiring under carpeting or rugs. The cords may overheat and cause fires.
  4. Avoid using extension cords. If one is required, you use a cord with the same or greater wattage and/or amperage value than the appliance.
  5. Use three-wire extension cords for appliances with three-pronged plugs. Absolutely never snip off the third prong!
  6. If you have tots or toddlers, you have purchased the new type of extension cords with “anti-mouth-burn” design features such as safety closures and caps. Children sometimes put extension cord
    receptacles or appliance cord plugs into their mouths and can receive severe shocks or disfiguring burns to the mouth.

 

Outlets and switches

GFCI
  1. Consider having GFCIs installed in locations required by the National Electrical Code, such as kitchens, bathrooms, garages, unfinished basements, exterior walls and near laundry tubs or wet bar sinks. The GFCI is designed to protect people from severe or fatal electric shocks. Because a GFCI detects ground faults, it can also prevent some electrical fires and reduce the severity of others by interrupting the flow of electric current. GFCIs can prevent electrocutions so make sure they’re working. Test GFCI monthly.
  2. Improperly operating outlets or switches may indicate that an unsafe wiring condition exists. A loose screw holding a wire or a worn out switch can lead to electrical arcing, overheating, or a fire.
  3. Unusually warm outlets or switches may indicate an unsafe wiring condition exists, such as a loose electrical connection that can start a fire (some dimmer switches may become warm during normal use).
Missing coverplate

   

    4.  Do all electrical plugs fit snugly into all

         outlets? A loose connection cannot carry

         much current without getting hot.

    5.  Discoloration and tear-drop shaped

         darkening around outlets and switch

         cover plates are signs of potential

         problems.

    6.  No wiring should be exposed from behind

         outlet and switch cover plates. Replace

         missing, cracked or broken cover plates.

Lights

  1. Use a light bulb of the correct type and wattage. If you do not know the correct wattage, contact the manufacturer of the lamp or fixture.
  2. Place halogen floor lamps away from curtains, buds, rugs or other furnishings. These lamps operate at high temperatures and can create a fire hazard.

 

Space heaters

  1. Space heaters should be placed at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs.
  2. Keep space heaters away from areas with water. Check your manual to be sure the heater is intended to be used in locations such as bathrooms.
  3. Unplug and safely store portable space heaters when not in use.

 

Appliances

  1. Make sure appliances are in good condition by looking for cuts and break in power cords and plugs. Appliances that repeatedly blow fuses, trip circuit breakers or have given you a shock, should be unplugged and replaced or repaired by a qualified professional.
  2. Flickering lights, tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses are indications of possible electrical problems. Arcs, sparks, sizzles, buzzes or an unusual odor in the vicinity of a receptacle, switch or lighting fixtures is a sign of an equipment problem.
  3. Outlets, switches, or cords that feel warm or hot to the touch may indicate an electrical problem.
  4. Electrical shocks—even mild ones—are an indication of an electrical hazard and should be checked.

 

                                                                 HEATING                                                         

Fireplace and wood stove

  1. Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  2. Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested.
  3. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  4. Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  5. Be sure your fireplace is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over. Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time

  6. Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel can produce deadly fumes.

  7. Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

Furnace

Unprotected opening at the chimney

A furnace that is not running at peak performance can be deadly. Carbon monoxide is a natural product of incomplete combustion. Virtually every gas furnace produces some CO, which usually carried away from home through the furnace’s venting. A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produced very small amounts of CO, while a dirty inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts. It’s highly recommended that you have your furnace cleaned and checked every year. The older the furnace, the more important this service is.

 

Cracked heat exchanger

One of the most important pieces in your furnace is the heat exchanger. It’s
responsible for supplying your home with warm air. Every time you turn your
furnace on, the heat exchanger becomes red hot and expands. Over its lifetime,
it expands and contracts thousands of times.

Heat exchangers expand and contract so many times that eventually they can crack. Also, condensation exhaust from the furnace may collect, causing severe rusting and holes in your heat exchanger over time. If these cracks or holes form, this means that carbon monoxide could potentially leak into your living areas.

  1. It is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good
    working condition.
  2. Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  3. Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself
    unless you are qualified.
  4. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  5. Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  6. Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  7. Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

 

                                                              INTERIOR                                                      

Stairs

Missing handrail

Stairs are often the cause of many different accidents; some of which are fatal. But there
are some simple steps to take to insure home safety stairs. Everybody at any age can be at serious risk of accidents around stairs. But stairs are particularly dangerous for the elderly and for small children. Here are ten easy steps to insure home safety stairs:

 

  1. Make sure there are lights to illuminate the way. Put a light switch at the top and bottom of each stairwell.
  2. Make sure that the stairs are all in good repair, and there aren't any uneven or raised
    surfaces. All steps should also be the same size. Uneven stairs can lead to bad home safety, and more accidents.
  3. Installing a handrail, keeping the stairs free of clutter, and removing loose carpet or coverings from the stairs. Safety gates should be installed at the tops and bottoms of stairs as well, to keep children from crawling or falling down the stairs. Also, make sure you take your time to go up and down the stairs. Rushing can only increase your risk, especially if you are carrying children, pets, or heavy objects.