Risks in the Home: How to Stay Safe


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It’s hard to imagine life when televisions only streamed in black and white or when ‘doing laundry’ meant rolling up your sleeves and washing each article by hand.  While modern technology has improved the quality of life in a number of ways, added complexity can also lead to greater risks.  Using the safety tips below, learn how to prevent needless disasters from happening within your home.

The Tumble Dryer:  According to recent reports, over 17,000 house fires resulting in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in damages occur each year due to clogged dryer systems. It’s important to know that lint is highly flammable.  Each member of the household should be taught to clean the lint filter before or after every load. In addition, a hired professional should be brought in to have the dryer vent system cleaned and serviced regularly. Lastly, because fires occurring at night can be especially dangerous, it’s important to only run the dryer during the day and when someone is home.

The Oven and Stove top: Remember to never leave the stove top unattended while cooking and ensure that your children and pets are kept away from the heat at all times.  Many kitchen fires start when the cooking oil catches fire in the pan.  While some stove top burners can reach temperatures as high as 1,400°F, it takes just 700°F for cooking oils to ignite.  In the event that the oil catches fire in the pan, take away the heat source by turning off the burner and cover the pan with a lid to smother the fire.  If the fire is not small enough to contain, use the family fire escape plan and immediately call the fire department.

The Microwave:  Since they entered into the home in the 1970’s, microwaves have been a marvel of technological convenience. However, as with all things electrical, there are dangers to be aware of.  Because microwaves work using radiation, it is critical that the oven be replaced if a seal is bent or broken thus preventing the door from closing firmly.  Teach your family the general rules of using a microwave:  use only ‘microwave safe’ containers, always remove any metal or aluminum, stand at least one foot away while the microwave is in use and never operate it while empty.

The Air Conditioner (AC):  Although today’s air conditioners are built to both reduce the heat and health-risks inside your home, the effects are only beneficial if you clean and service them regularly.  For instance, you must keep all air filters inside the unit clean to avoid overworking, excess buildup and the spreading of potential allergens throughout your home.  In 2010 alone, air conditioner units were involved in an estimated 7,400 reported house fires in the U.S.  To be safe, always turn off the AC before leaving your home and hire a maintenance professional to inspect and service the unit monthly.

Register All Appliances:  It’s important to note that the majority of house fires and other in-home threats are a result of faulty appliances, not human error. In the last five years, more than seven million dishwashers have been recalled due to defects that could cause a fire, and nearly eight million other appliances have been recalled for similar risks. The large number of recalls is a sobering reminder of how important it is to register all appliances with their manufacturers so you will receive notices if one of them has been recalled.

Even the least domestic among us can appreciate the seriousness of a clogged dryer vent or broken microwave, and a little knowledge in the areas can go a long way when it comes to ensuring the safety of your home.   Follow these safety tips to avoid the unpredictable threats of today’s technology.

 

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