Safety in the home : How to protect your family from home accidents

Safety in the home


Safety in the home

You may be surprised to learn that accidents in the home are a major public health issue, particularly for young children, whose curiosity can lead them to all sorts of dangers (Safety in the home).

But it takes only a handful of simple measures to protect your family.

for example, install smoke alarms, rehearse a fire drill, keep a well stocked first aid kit and check the house for anything that may cause problems.

Safety in the home

Fire drill


The medicine cabinet

DIY accidents

Child safety around the home

Fire drill

Make sure you have an alternative route of escape in the case of fire, and keep it clear of obstacles.

If your windows are barred, make sure that at least one can be opened with a key.

If you deadlock your doors at night, keep the key by your bedside.

A rehearsed fire exit plan can really help children survive a fire, as they are at high risk of smoke inhalation and asphyxiation.

To help them remember the fire drill, use phrases such as ‘Stop, drop and roll’ and ‘Get down low and go go go.

Install a smoke detector (see the box on ‘Smoke alarms’ below).

Make sure every member of the household who is old enough to make a phone call knows the fire emergency number.

Store fire control devices, such as a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand and fire blanket, near the exit to the kitchen.

Never leave a pan of oil unattended on the heat. If there is a fire in the frying pan, do not move the pan.

Follow these steps.

1 If it is safe for you to do so, turn off the heat.

2 Smother the flames by covering the pan with a close-fitting lid, fire blanket, bucket of sand or damp cloth.

Never use water or an ordinary fire extinguisher to put out an oil fire.

3 Do not touch the pan for another 30 minutes.

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms give an early warning of fire, the chance to escape and an earlier opportunity to call the fire brigade.

They are inexpensive and very easy to install.

Fire safety experts recommend that at least one, preferably two, smoke alarms be installed per household; install one near the entrance to the kitchen.

Make sure you regularly change the batteries and check your smoke alarms are working.

Scalds (Safety in the home)

Hot water burns like fire.

Make sure that hot water — whether it’s in a cup, kettle or saucepan — is well out of reach of young children.

Reducing the temperature of your hot water to 50°C (122°F) greatly lowers the risk of scalds.

it takes only 1 second for a major burn at 60°C (140°F), 10 seconds at 55°C (131°F), yet 5 minutes at 50°C (122°F).

If you can’t alter the temperature of your hot water, install mixing valves or other devices that limit the temperature of water at the tap (Safety in the home).

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