Home Safety

In Home Safety Tips for Fire Tornado Hurricane Flood Children and Elderly. Here is some important home safety information that can save lives.

Home Fire Safety

I am very saddened by the number of reports I read daily concerning fires in mobile homes. The distressing part is the number of fatalities especially children that occur. To give you an idea of what it is like to be inside a home during a fire, try this, Close you eyes, spin around a couple of times keep your eyes closed then imagine being gripped by overwhelming fear, panic, disorientation, stifling heat, smoke, and toxic fumes. This will give you an idea of what it is like being in that type of situation. Hollywood makes it seem different though. I will tell you from the training I have received it is pitch black you can not see anything and you have very few seconds to save yourself or any loved ones. Forget attempting to save any personal property. Are you scared yet? Don't be afraid, stay prepared. The biggest causes of home fires seem to be from smoking, clothes dryers, faulty electrical outlets, heaters and stoves.
Always have and test smoke detectors.
Did you know smoke detectors as well as CO2 detectors wear out? After about ten years maximum they are not working. If your smoke or CO2 detectors have some age on them GET NEW ONES.
Researchers have found that many kids never wake up during a smoke detector alarm. There are now smoke detectors available that you can record your voice on that seem to get a much better response.

Go over a fire evacuation plan with your family and especially the children because you may not be able to reach them. No one is superman!

Have a fire drill! Seriously!

Have a meet up spot a safe distance from the home and make sure everyone gets there for accountability.

The smoke and fumes will cause your eyes and airway to swell shut almost immediately. This is one reason so many people are found dead from smoke inhalation in bed. They wake up in a panic, sit up taking a gasping breath and fall back into the bed dead. Smoke inhalation probably is the number one cause of death in home fires. Stay low, you have a few inches of breathable air near the floor. This is one reason I'm no big fan of bunk beds for children. When you are awaken immediately roll out of bed and hit the floor crawling towards one of your planned escapes points. Teach the kids the same thing.

Feel doors before you open them, if they are hot then fire is more than likely on the other side so head for the next escape point.  Have more than one escape route.

When you get out then have someone call the fire department from a safe location or a neighbors. Do not go back into a burning home. There are no personal possessions that are worth your life. You may want to consider keeping important documents in a fire proof box.

General Fire Prevention Tips for Home Safety

Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

Store and use flammable liquids, including gasoline, mineral spirits, lubricants, and nail polish remover properly, away from open flame. Never store gasoline inside homes, it should be used only for fueling internal combustion engines! Don' not store gasoline or any flammable liquid near a gas appliance.

Never store combustible materials under homes.

Your home and yard should be kept free of debris. Don't allow magazines, newspapers, and other combustible items to collect.

Always keep all the homes exits clear and easy to reach.

Secure candles in non-combustible holders, and not near curtains and other flammable materials.

If smoking is allowed in your home, provide large, deep ashtrays and empty them into metal containers. Check around cushions for smoldering cigarettes before going to bed. No one should ever smoke in bed or while drowsy. Do not empty ashtrays in the trash can unless it is fireproof before going to bed, this is how a lot of bars and restaurants burn down.

Maintain the homes water heater temperature at 120-125 degrees. Have it checked at least once a year. If you have a gas water heater, pay special attention to the flue area. If the heater is electric, check for loose wiring. The water heater's pressure relief valve should be checked for corrosion. Never close up or cover a floor or wall vent in a gas water heater compartment.

Never leave cooking unattended. If you must answer the phone or go to the door, take a spoon or hot pan holder with you to remind you that you must return quickly. Keep pan handles turned in toward the center of the stove and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves while cooking. Keep combustibles away from the stove and maintain cooking areas, including the hood and duct, free of grease and dust. In case of a grease fire in a pan, NEVER attempt to pick up the flaming pan. Instead, slide a lid or cookie sheet onto the pan, turn off the heat, and wait for it to cool.

Be careful not to overload the homes electrical circuits. Lights that flicker or dim indicate trouble. When replacing fuses, install only recommended fuses. Only use fuses and breakers that are the proper size for the wire. If you are inexperienced in working with electricity, don't try to correct electrical problems yourself. Call a licensed electrician.

Extension cords are meant to be used temporarily. If your using one year-round, move the appliance nearer the outlet or call a qualified electrician to install an additional outlet. Never plug heaters into extension cords and make certain that an extension cord is heavy-duty enough to handle whatever is plugged into it. Power strips with their own circuit breakers are great for your homes entertainment centers and computer systems.

Replace frayed or broken electrical cords and never run cords under rugs. Only buy electrical appliances and equipment approved by a certified testing laboratory, and make sure all your homes electrical appliances are properly installed and maintained. Keep dust accumulations from televisions and other appliances.

Keep dryer vents and ducts cleaned out. If you are using the plastic duct, replace it with the new metal duct that is now required by code in most locations.

These are a few in home safety tips on staying alive if a fire happens. Contact your local fire department for more tips they are a hearty and helpful breed of people who would rather talk to you than have to write a report about you.

Tornado and Hurricane Home Safety

Everyone has seen the devastation caused to homes by tornadoes and hurricanes in the news. Not many structures can withstand the wind forces produced during these storms. Mobile Homes are particularly vulnerable to such events. Here are a few guidelines recommended by safety experts. I lumped these two topics together because there isn't much difference in the severity of damage and injuries they can cause. Hurricanes typically spawn tornadoes and along with the high potential for wind damage there is also a possibility of flooding due to rain and, if you live near large bodies of water, storm surge flood.
Even if mobile homes or manufactured homes are anchored, which I highly recommend, the best plan of action is to get out and find a suitable shelter. When you know that a possibly severe weather condition such as in the case of hurricanes is coming it is best to stay informed and tuned into weather advisory media. Locate a better structure that is more likely to survive such events ahead of time before you need it. Also be sure to look out for your neighbors and elderly who might be in danger. Keep them informed and take them with you.

To prepare for a weather event takes just a little bit of preparation. You need to have  suitable supplies that you can quickly take with you wait out the storm. The list usually includes things like flashlights, radios, communication devices like a cell phone (that may not work after a storm but handy to have). Pack some creature comfort items that you and the kids or pets might need. While you are hunkered down. There are many websites and governmental agencies where you can find recommended items on a list. Look at Ready.Gov , National Hurricane Center and the Red Cross are some good site for supply ideas

Here are some general guidelines to help prepare your mobile home.
Have a licensed installer inspect your home for safety.
Make sure straps are tight and properly aligned.
Make sure your home has the proper number of anchors. Look at the info on the Skirting and Underpinning page for anchor placement.
Make sure ground anchors and stabilizer plates are installed properly and are flush with the ground.
Make sure piers are in contact with the manufactured homes frame.
Make sure straps and anchors are not damaged or corroded. If they are, replace them immediately.
Boarding up your homes windows to protect from flying debris may also be a good idea.

If you are in a site built home and a tornado comes upon you before you can seek storm shelter the recommendations are:
The safest place in the home is the interior, preferably under something sturdy like the table. Stay out from under heavy objects like pianos or refrigerators located on the floor above. If you have no basement, or cannot get there, go to an interior room on the lowest floor of the house, like a closet, hallway or bathroom with no windows. For added protection, get under something, like a workbench or heavy table. If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag and protect your head with anything available, even your hands.

If you are caught outside or in your car the recommendations are:
Do not try to outrun a tornado your car. If you see a tornado, stop your vehicle and get out. Seek shelter away from the car in a nearby ditch or ravine; do not get under your vehicle. Lie flat and put your arms over your head.

If you encounter a flood situation
Find and stay on high ground. Never attempt to enter or cross any flooded streams. If you are in your car don"t try to drive through a flooded area. You don't know how deep the water is or if there is any hidden hazards. You also stand a very good chance of getting swept away.

Child In Home Safety

Children safety is a subject I consider very important. The number of avoidable injuries and deaths is staggering. There have been two deaths locally from a TV falling on a child and a clothes dresser falling on another. There are so many easily implementable things that can be done to identify and correct these types of hazards. Child safety locks on cabinets and electrical safety plugs is just a start. Here is some info from Kids Safe website including tutorial videos for safety proofing homes. They even have a section for special needs kids.

Elderly In Home Safety

The most commons causes of in home injuries to elderly persons from the reports I have read is from fire and falls. Getting "long in the tooth" is not a disability however it does put someone in a category of being disadvantaged and vulnerable to potential dangers in their own homes. If you are in that situation or know someone that this applies to there are lots of things that can be done to adapt the home for elderly safety.
You first need to start identifying the potential hazards at take action to correct them. There are businesses that can help with any changes that may be needed to make homes safer. Things like changing the types of home appliances or lower cabinets looking for trip hazards and adding hand rails or safety grab bars can be a big help.
Safety bathtubs and fall detectors are just a few of the many products out there that positively impact that special someone in your life. Lets face it your not going to get Mom, Dad, Grandma or Granddad to give up their homes (Look up definition of "Kicking and Screaming" in Websters) so do them and yourself a favor for piece of mind. Help make their golden years safer. Here are some good sites to look at for Older Adult Falls and for Senior Fire Safety .