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Year-End Holidays Kindle Home Safety Reminders

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 18 December 2001 00:00

Canadians traditionally spend the holiday season at home with loved ones and friends, but amid the festivities, they often overlook dangers that lurk in that cosy setting until it is too late. The good news is that more than 90% of home accidents, or "unintentional injuries" as they are more apply named, are preventable.

Children and the elderly -- the very ones lovingly brought together during holidays -- are the most susceptible to unintentional injuries, but all ages are vulnerable, especially when alcohol, cooking, flammable decorations and unfamiliar settings are added to the mix.

Unintentional injury is the major cause of hospitalization in Canada and costs more than $8.7 billion annually. A staggering 52% of all injury admissions to hospital emergency rooms are due to falls for all ages.

Here are a few holiday suggestions for Canadians checking their lists for gift ideas and last-minute things to do.

Give The Gift Of Home Safety

  • Although many municipal bylaws make smoke alarms mandatory, there are still too many Canadian homes without the protection of this inexpensive early-warning device. If old disabled alarms, inactivated after false cooking-triggered responses, are a common sight at your home or a friend's, try a gift of modern units with features that minimize frustrations caused by innocent cooking fumes.

  • Alarm batteries don't last forever. Give NON-RECHARGEABLE batteries since the rechargeable ones just quit instead of chirping out a warning as they run down.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms save lives by warning of otherwise undetectable levels of lethal fumes from furnaces and other fuel burning equipment.

  • Multi-purpose fire extinguishers should be standard home equipment, especially in the kitchen, but they are not. Local fire departments are a great resource on the ins and outs of fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment.

  • If you're having a new home built, investigate automatic fire sprinklers. These systems typically minimize property loss by one-half to two-thirds and reduce fire-related deaths.

  • The Canada Safety Council suggests buying clothing and sleepwear with fire safety in mind. Fabrics vary widely in how easily they ignite, how they burn and how easily flames can be extinguished. However carefully you shop, exercise great care around flames and heat sources and keep children away from danger.

Essential Holiday "To Do" Items

  • Hang decorations away from heat sources, open flames and lighting fixtures.

  • Check inside and outside lights before you hang them. Replace any that show wear or are more than 5 years old. Don't connect more than three light sets to one extension cord. Never leave the lights on when the home is empty or everyone is asleep.

  • Keep under-foot clutter to a minimum by collecting presents under the tree, clearing stairs, replacing slippery scatter rugs and providing storage boxes for discarded toys.

  • Ensure entrance ways and staircases are well lit.

  • Alcohol causes accidents at home too, especially when smokers are involved. Warning: Each year, children are admitted to hospital as a result of consuming an adult's unfinished drink.

  • Be alert in the kitchen, especially when it becomes a crowded work area or children are under foot. Slow down and stay safe, particularly when lifting the heavy hot turkey from the oven.

  • Keep an eye on matches, lighters, candles and stoves since children playing with fire is the main cause of clothing burns and a frequent factor in home fires.

  • Review your home fire escape plan with guests and household members, including preschoolers. Developing and practicing such a plan is a great way to remind everyone of the importance of safety for a happy holiday.

    Your plan should include two ways out of each room, unobstructed and easy-to-use exits (don't be fooled by windows that are actually sealed shut), a meeting place outside, practice with "stop, drop and roll" for clothing fires and a promise from everyone never to go back inside for any reason.

Here's wishing you all a happy, safe holiday season!

For more articles by P.J. Wade, please press here .

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PJ Wade

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic speaker and author of 8 books and more than 1800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

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