Being a homeowner and a mother, I work hard to keep my house and family safe. But homes face all types of threats – some less obvious than others. Here’s a list I put together of possible dangers hiding in or around your home (a follow-up to my earlier post about hidden home dangers):
My family is constantly plugged in, so I like to make sure our electronics aren’t overloading our outlets. If lightning strikes, a power surge can damage appliances, electronics and, in worst cases, spark a house fire. To prevent damage from surges, I suggest using a surge protector and unplugging appliances and electronics during severe storms.
As a mother of three boys, I do a lot of laundry. I know it’s easy to disregard the lint trap, but lint buildup can cause the dryer to overheat or start a fire. Take time to clean out the lint trap before and after using the dryer. Also, dryer vents should be cleaned every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association; more often, if you notice it’s taking longer to dry your clothes. Cleaning out your vent may help prevent a possible dryer-induced house fire and keep your machine running more efficiently.
If your house is like mine, the entryway and stairwell become a landing zone for backpacks, shoes, coats and anything else the kids bring home. While these everyday items seem harmless, the excess clutter could cause serious injuries if someone were to trip and fall. Keep your home safe and clean by investing in storage bins and organizational units – and using them.
There’s a reason why carbon monoxide (CO) is nicknamed the “silent killer.” According to the CDC, this odorless, colorless gas is the leading cause of accidental poisonings for Americans, resulting in about 15,000 emergency department visits and nearly 500 deaths each year. Fuel-burning appliances are often the source of CO leaks, which can create a deadly buildup in the home. It is recommended to install CO alarms on every level of the home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. Even though alarm lifespans vary by model and manufacturer, we recommend replacing most every five to seven years. If you don’t remember when your CO alarm was installed, it’s a good idea to replace it. Some models feature end-of-life warnings to alert you when a replacement is needed.
An open garage door or unlocked doors and windows are an open invitation to intruders. Be sure to lock up your house every time you leave. Installing security cameras can help deter intruders, too, and give you peace of mind while you’re out of the house.
Have you encountered any type of hidden home dangers? What do you do throughout the year to keep your family safe?
Guest blogger Debbie Hanson is director of external affairs for First Alert, a trusted brand in home safety products.