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Home Safe Home
RE/MAX Genesis
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 • Posted April 1, 2008 10:00 PM

A recent survey by the Home Safety Council (HSC) reveals that the majority of Americans report feeling safest in their homes. But, as we all know, accidents can happen. Statistics show that home-injuries cause nearly 21,000 deaths and 21 million medical visit each year! According to HCS’s 2006 study, the most common reasons homeowners gave for not taking action to enhance the safety of their homes include not having the time (48 percent) and not knowing what actions to take (28 percent). Making your home safe for you and your family can be simple if you take the necessary steps to find and fix hazards before an injury occurs.

What an inspection may reveal

If you’re considering purchasing a home, you’ll likely want to know about any problems that may exist with the property. Faulty wiring and loose electrical outlets are cause for concern. A standard home inspection looks at the condition of the home’s electrical systems, HVAC systems, interior plumbing, roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and insulation. A thorough home examination by a trained professional can cue you to preventive measures for ensuring your family’s safety. Having your home properly inspected before you buy will help to prevent safety risks and potential costly repairs in the future.

The busiest room

When asked, 31 percent of homeowners rate the kitchen as the most dangerous room in the house. And there is good reason for that. The leading causes of home-related injuries include fires/burns, poisoning and falls, most of which are likely to occur in the busiest room of the house.

There are several ways you can step up safety in the kitchen:

• Store all portable appliances and cords out of reach of children. Keep them unplugged when not in use and away from the sink or other sources of water.

• If you have an appliance that is damaged, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Call an expert.

• Make sure your smoke detectors and fire extinguisher are working.

• Store food and household cleaners separately.

• Clean spills immediately to avoid falls.

• Always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking on the stove.

• Store potholders, dish towels, etc. away from the stove.

• Install child-proof locks on all cabinets that hold potentially dangerous items.

You should also post emergency numbers next to every phone in your home. Be sure to include the Poison Control Hotline (800/222-1222).

The family room

While it may not be the busiest, it’s likely the most used. To ensure a safe time:

• If you have children, use outlet plug covers.

• Make sure rugs have skid-proof backing. If you have hardwood floors, skid-proof your furniture legs. You can find a variety of methods at your local hardware store.

• Don’t run electrical cords under the rug or carpet or drape them over hot surfaces such as a space heater.

• Unplug all extension cords when not in use and never use an extension cord that is damaged.

• Never use a bulb of a higher wattage than is recommended.

Most of these tips also apply to other rooms in the house, such as the bathrooms and bedrooms. But the bathrooms require an additional mention. It’s important to keep any type of electrical product away from the bathtub. We all know not to submerse our hairdryers, but you never know when a splash of water can turn into an electrical fire. Take precautionary measures and keep your electrical products as far away from the bathtub as possible.

Here are a few other tips to ensure your home is safe and properly maintained:

• Develop a fire escape plan and practice the drill with your family members.

• Keep all stairways, paths and walkways lit.

• Install grab bars in showers and baths, and use non-slip mats inside.

• Supervise children in or near water such as pools and ponds.

• A greasy garage can be slippery and is a potential fire hazard. Degrease the garage using a nontoxic, nonflammable degreaser.

• If you have a deck, inspect it for loose nails or wood erosion.

• Take a close look at your garage door. A garage door can weigh up to 400 lbs. Check the springs and balancing mechanisms and make sure they are in top-notch condition.

Feeling safe in our own homes is something that most of us take for granted. Spend some time focusing on the maintenance of your house. Adhering to these home-safety basics can help you and your family avoid accidents and enjoy your home as the safe haven you’ve always desired. If you have questions on increasing the safety in your home or want to know where to find a reputable home inspector, contact your Texas Realtor. To find a Realtor in your area, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.

For services, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000 or lightfoot@moment.net.

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