Check for safety hazards

HOME IS where the heart is. And safety at home is important to lead a blissful life. An accident or injury can occur in any part of your home to any of your family members.

Some safety hazards are obvious, such as a toy truck left lying at the top of the stairs. Others are not so easily identified, such as your aged parents suffering in silence, while your children enjoy music at full-blast.

Safety experts say that it is imperative to protect your home from hazards caused by water, wind, lightning, fire and electricity.

"Although, in India, it is not possible to make your home 100 per cent safe, it is desirable that you be informed about aspects of home safety. Some people scoff at the suggestions given by me. But unfortunately, when they become victims of their negligence, they repent," says M. Shantamurthy, a retired safety officer of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

"For example, from broken pipes to leaking appliances, water damage can wreak havoc, destroying your home, personal property, and irreplaceable family heirlooms. In many cases, water damage can be avoided with routine maintenance and assistance from qualified contractors.

It will be worth your time to take a few extra moments every week to check potential trouble spots in and around your home. Early detection could mean the difference between a simple mop-up job and major repairs."

Water leaks can happen anywhere in the house, but they occur most frequently in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.

Whether it's a slow drip or a sudden burst, water leaks can cause extensive damage to your home and personal belongings.

"There are chances of people getting seriously injured when they slip and fall in the kitchen or bathroom due to water spillage. The aged and kids should not bolt the bathroom door from inside while using it," says Mr. Shantamurthy.

Can you imagine living without the convenience of microwave ovens, telephones, televisions, home computers and washing machines? By recognising electrical hazards that may be present in your home, you can protect your family, home and assets from damage caused by electrical surges. Electricity and electrical surges can also cause a shock hazard or fire hazard if protective steps are not taken.

"In India, 220 volts current is supplied to homes. Anything above 120 volts is fatal and could kill a person in five seconds. Hence it is wise to fix Electrical Leakage Circuit Breakers (ELCB). One should not try to repair television sets or fans or any electrical or electronic gadgets at home. Sensitive electronic circuitry is appearing in more and more appliances in the typical Indian home.

Also, the amount of electronic equipment in the home is increasing: DVD players, satellite TV, video games, stereo systems, and personal computers are becoming commonplace.

"The electronic circuitry is getting more dense and compact, making the circuitry more vulnerable to damage from power surges. Equipment and appliances are becoming more interconnected with one another. All this increases the chances of damage from power surges.

Hence it is advisable to use UPS or stabilizers as the case may be to avoid damage," says Mr. Shanatamurthy.

Parents worry about their children's safety near electrical outlets.

The outlets are usually installed at a height or near a child's eye level, and a child's curiosity draws them to explore.

This indicates that many of the home electrocution and shock injuries involve unsupervised children.

While the chance of electrocution is relatively low, simple measures can be taken to avoid injury or death to a child. Wherever required, plastic protective covers can be used.

Knives, masalas, medicines, scissors and caustic chemicals need to be kept out of the reach of children, says Mr. Shantamurthy. They should be kept in drawers with safe latches.

Ensure elders do not suffer silently as children enjoy music at full-blast.

Protect your home from hazards caused by water, wind, lightning, fire and electricity.

Check potential trouble spots in and around your home every week.

Leaking water may result in aged and children slipping and falling in kitchen/bathroom.


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