June is National Safety Month, according to the National Safety Council. The designation, started in 1996, has been utilized as an opportunity to bring the issue of safety to the forefront. Rosie on the House has also been at the forefront of promoting safety to all homeowners.
While industry safety has improved over the decades with organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some regulations address safety in our homes. These are primarily focused on how our homes are constructed (building codes). Once the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, they usually stop there, until you remodel.
We rarely think of our homes as dangerous places. After all, we usually feel safe at home. We should, however, think about household safety more frequently. There are several ways to accomplish this. One way is to engage the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month blog. Here, we are given a topic for each week in June. A look at these topics, with an eye toward our homes, will be worthwhile.
Think about household safety
- Emergency Preparedness. Not too long ago, we ran a DIY article on this topic. Emergency preparedness is not something to postpone until you need it. By then, it is too late. Whether you are sheltering at home, stranded in your car, or encountering an accident on a hike, some level of preparation should be in your wheelhouse. Romey’s List of Lists is a great place to start.
- Slips and Falls. We have all heard about falls in the home. While older folks tend to be more susceptible, all of us can become victims if we don’t take steps to protect ourselves. We can prevent some bathroom falls by making sure a non-slip surface both inside and outside our tub/shower area is available. The stairs are another place where a non-slip surface needs to be. When was the last time you checked your step stool and ladders? Tightening the nuts and bolts can prevent an unwanted wobble while on the next to the top rung. A common cause of falls around the home can be traced back to the thought, “I think I can reach that without having to move the ladder.” Dangerous thought!
- Heat-Related Illness. In Arizona, this is all too common, not just in our lower deserts, either. The summertime mountain regions get pretty warm as well. We have all heard about taking enough water on a hike, walk, or bike ride. You need to consider that same caution when working in your yard, outside working on your car, or even working for any length of time in an unairconditioned garage. Hyperthermia is no joke. Cramping, clammy skin, weak pulse, and nausea are just some of the symptoms that need to be treated quickly.
- Hazard Recognition. Generally, this is designed for the workplace. However, we are putting our “house, home, castle or cabin” spin on this. Hazard recognition means being aware of the items in and around you that might contribute to an accident. Things such as a child’s bike laying on the ground, patio furniture blocking an exit, or pool toys near the pool that might cause a tripping hazard are the simple everyday circumstances we tend to overlook. Being aware of your surroundings extends past your home as well. No matter where you are, being aware of objects and people around you can prevent an unpleasant outcome.
Those topics give us all the good information we can apply to our homes.
Additional precautions you should consider as well
- Home Fire Drill. Figuring out how to get you and your family out the door is not when the smoke alarm starts blaring. Planning ahead for several possible scenarios could save a life, and the practicing part might be a lot of fun. Consider scenarios that might not seem obvious. What if getting to the door is not an option? Climbing out a window might be quite enlightening, as to how difficult that may or may not be. For second-floor escapes, you may want to think about how to shelter and let rescuers know where you are.
- Update Your First Aid Kit. We have talked about this topic quite a lot. The contents of your first aid kit are as important as knowing how to use them. We have several first-aid blogs we think are worth another look at.
- Practice Self Defense. Personal defense is important. We are not saying y’all need to go out and get a black belt, rather incorporate some simple steps into your daily activity that can protect you from harm. The simplest practice is awareness.
You don’t need to be the spy with your head on a swivel, but rather be conscious of your surroundings. Ask yourself, “Does that tree branch look like it’s going to fall?” Or “That group over there seems like something I might want to avoid.”
One of the most common mistakes today is focusing on our cell phones, not our surroundings. Doing this while driving can be deadly. Doing this while walking can get you or someone else hurt. If you must engage your cell phone, try to put your back against a wall and look up every few seconds. Being aware of your surroundings and avoiding situations you are not comfortable with is 95% of all self-defense.
Being safe is usually a choice we make. Whether to reach that extra foot of gutter to clean while on a ladder or leaving a power tool lying around unsupervised (“I will only be a minute!”), we make the conscious decision to be safe or to risk it. We don’t believe the risk is worth it.
Our Weekly To Do: June is #NationalSafetyMonth. Introducing our newest Certified Partners Tamara and Ryne Jakubos of ‘Team Try’ CMG Home Loans. Plus, homeowner questions on permit delays, recirculating pump for a solar water heater, the truth about hard start kits for your air conditioner and can stucco be applied entirely on a home in a few days.