According to the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else. These accidents account for 4000 deaths each year and a third of these involved people over the age of 75. In fact they say that you are 25 times more likely to die in an accident at home than your chances of winning the lottery. Not good odds.
So the obvious answer to this is to find ways of preventing accidents where possible and knowing what to do should an accident occur. The following list will offer some advice on how to keep the home and garden safe for all family members.
- Always ensure stairs and halls are clutter free and well lit.
- Never climb on chairs or furniture, use a step ladder.
- Have your appliances, in particular your boiler, serviced once a year.
- Takes special care when using candles or if you have an open fire. Use guards and keep clothing well away.
- Run the cold water first when having a bath.
- Keep electrical equipment away from water.
- Always use an RCD when using electrical equipment outside.
- Store garden chemicals in a shed in a locked box or cupboard.
- Use the protective gear recommended when doing DIY.
- Keep pond and pools fenced and locked.
- Take care to keep pathways clear of ice and moss and provide handrails to steps.
The Fire and Resuce service are called to 600,000 fires each year and 800 people a year die in house fires. So using a fire alarm could quite literally save your life. There are three types of fire alarms available:
- Ionisation – Sensitive to small particles of smoke from flaming fires, but slightly less sensitive to smoky smouldering fires.
- Optical – Will detect larger particles of smoke from fires such as those caused by electrical wiring and other cases where there are less flames.
- Combined – Will detect both the above types of fire.
Some alarms can be interconnected so that a fire picked up in one part of the building will set off all other alarms. A standard alarm battery will last 12 months and should be replaced yearly as a matter of course. It should also be checked on a weekly basis. Those which run on mains do not need to be checked, but should have a back-up battery, just in case power is lost in the fire. Some alarms will also come with a light to provide additional safety during a fire. Alarms should be positioned in the centre of a room and in hallways on each level of the house.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon monoxide is odourless and tasteless, yet it kills 50 people a year. In most cases Carbon Monoxide poisoning occurs because there is inadequate ventilation around gas appliances or they have not been properly serviced.
- Carbon Monoxide alarms should not be used as a substitute to regular servicing and common sense. The alarm may not be enough to wake you should you have become drowsy due to the gas.
- Bear in mind that carbon monoxide gas can be given off by the burning of all fossil fuels, so even a coal fire can produce deadly gas if it is not vented correctly.