About 146,571 people died from unintentional injuries in 2015, according to the National Safety Council. Many of these injuries were suffered at home. Safety check your home for the three F’s: fires, falls and firearms:
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were over 380,000 residential fires in 2015. Most of us know common-sense fire safety rules: don’t let candles burn unattended, unplug curling irons or space heaters when not in use, don’t overload outlets, etc. Also consider:
- Wiring: Poorly installed or old wiring is a hidden danger. One way to prevent electrical fires is to replace old circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters. These inexpensive safeguards detect dangerous electrical arcs – abnormal power surges that signal bad insulation or loose connections – and break the circuit.
- Kitchen Clutter: Almost 51 percent of home fires are caused by cooking in the kitchen. Items like kitchen towels, pot holders and cookbooks can ignite quickly. Maintain a three-foot zone between any combustible items and your burners, and keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby.
- Clothes Dryer: Lint buildup can spell disaster. Clean out lint traps after every dryer use, and make sure to regularly check for lint in the dryer cabinet, which is located in the back or bottom of the machine. The vent pipe should also be cleaned out every three months.
- Excessive Sawdust: Sawdust burns quickly and easily. Regularly clean it up with a vacuum designed for combustible dust. Also, avoid using compressed air to blow around dust – propelling it into the air can cause it to ignite.
The National Safety Council reports that 33,000 Americans died from falls in 2015. A majority of those deaths were suffered by people over age 65.
- Clean up clutter: Scarves, hats, boots, oh my! Pulling off your cold weather gear and dumping it on the floor creates a tripping hazard. Put away anything that you or others may stumble over.
- Keep walkways clear: Ice and snow on driveways and sidewalks can be hazardous to you or your visitors. Keep up on snow removal, and use salt in icy conditions.
- Avoid loose or ill-fitting clothing: Oversized clothes can easily cause a tumble for older Americans. Pants should be properly hemmed so they don’t drag on the ground.
- Wear footwear with a sole: Shoes or slippers with a good sole are much safer to walk in than fuzzy socks that slip and slide.
Take extra care when handling firearms at home:
- UNLOADED firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case that is inaccessible to children.
- Gun locking devices are a good second security measure that can be used in addition to locked storage.
- Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Thoroughly double check firearms to confirm that they are unloaded when put in or taken out of storage