Simple safety precautions in the home can prevent needless deaths and injuries and save billions of dollars in costs.
According to the latest annual edition of the National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts” report, in the U.S. in 2017 there were 169,936 preventable deaths and 47.2 million injuries, totaling over $6 billion in costs. Here are 5 of the most common dangers found around the house and how to reduce them:
1 Cooking related fires: 2 out 5 home fires are cooking-related:
• Keep flammables at least 3 feet from the stovetop.
• Never leave your range or cooktop unattended while cooking.
• Clean up any spilled or splattered grease.
• Clean the stovetop after each use.
• Use your oven’s self-cleaning feature at least every 2 or 3 months.
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
2 Electrical fires: Between 2012 and 2016, the average number of home fires per year was 355,400. Many of these fires involved electrical failure.
• Unplug small appliances and electronics when not in use.
• Replace frayed electrical cords.
• Have an electrician repair any loose electrical outlets.
• Replace old heating appliances.
• Replace cloth covered cords.
• Don’t force-fit a three-plug prong into an outlet with only 2 prongs.
3 Clothes Dryer Fires: 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
• Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires
• Clean the lint filter each time you use the dryer.
• Clean the vent ductwork once a year.
4 Dishwasher Fires: Approximately 1200 fires per year involve dishwashers.
• Make sure rubber seals around the door are in good shape.
• Even though dishwashers and other electrical appliances have fail-safe switches that are supposed to power down if the device overheats, be wary of leaving your dishwasher running unattended; overnight, for instance.
• Check for product recalls.
5 Carbon Monoxide and Radon Danger: 20,000 emergency room visits occur each year because of unintentional CO poisoning. 21,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year because of radon.
• The main preventive against CO and radon poisoning is to install a battery-operated or battery-backup carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each separate sleeping area in your home. (As a convenient reminder, replace batteries in the spring and fall when clocks change.)
• Have your furnace checked annually.
• Get your chimney checked and cleaned annually and make sure the damper is open before lighting a fire and until the fire is completely out.
• Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes, even if doors and windows are open. (National Safety Council)