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No Place Like Home for Danger Signs

June 21, 1997|From Associated Press

Most accidents and fires that occur in the home are preventable. Here are many of the danger spots in the average home. Of course, safety tips in one room may apply in other rooms as well.


* Keep electric blankets smooth; don't tuck them under the mattress. Don't put an electric blanket on anyone who can't tell you when the blanket is too hot.

* Keep space heaters away from flammable objects, children and pets.

* Keep a lamp and phone accessible from the bed.


* If you must have a lock on the bathroom door, install a privacy lock with a hole in the outside knob that lets you insert a wire or nail to release the lock. This will prevent children from getting accidentally locked inside.

* To prevent falls, lay scatter rugs with nonskid backings and provide tubs and showers with suction-backed rubber mats or adhesive decals.

* Grab-bars in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet are a help for all and a must for the elderly. Fasten the bars securely to wall studs or to the side of the tub.

* Shower doors should be safety glass or heavy-duty plastic.

* Keep electrical appliances--hair dryers, shavers, radios, phones, space heaters--away from tubs and sinks. All outlets should be equipped with ground fault interrupters to prevent fatal shock.

* Lock up all medicines.


* Have a multipurpose (rated ABC) fire extinguisher handy for minor fires. Also keep baking soda and a large lid next to the stove to put out grease fires.

Don't panic if a fat fire starts in the frying pan. Turn off the heat, stand back and toss generous handfuls of dry baking soda at the base of the flames.

Caution: Don't try this with deep fat, as it could spatter the grease and spread the fire. Instead, cover the pan with a large metal lid.

* Lock household cleaners, matches, lighters, sharp utensils, electrical appliances and cords out of children's reach.

* Don't store anything attractive to children above or near the stove.

* Turn pot handles inward. Cover frying pans with frying screens or lids.

* Always read labels. Never mix bleach with ammonia, lye or oven cleaner.

* Keep paper items, curtains, dish towels, pot holders, plastic utensils, electrical cords and appliances away from the stove. If there is even a slight shock from an electrical item, throw it away or have it repaired.

* If you smell gas, you and your family should leave the house immediately. Don't use the phone, flashlight or candles. Call the fire department or gas company from a neighbor's home.

* Keep fire, police and poison control numbers near all the phones. Program the numbers into an auto-dialing phone.

Child's room

* Make sure all paint is lead-free.

* Never put a space heater in a child's room.

* Place a "Child Alert" decal on a child's bedroom window to alert the fire department.

* Keep windows and screens locked or install window guards if you have young children.

Living room

* Overloaded extension cords or outlets cause fire. Compare wattage on cords to that of appliances and lamps. Always use cords that provide a higher rating than an appliance needs.

* Don't run electrical cords under rugs or furniture or in traffic areas.

* Replace frayed, cracked or pinched cords.

* Call an electrician if any outlet or switch plate is warm to the touch.

* Leave space around the TV and stereo to prevent overheating.

* Shield the fireplace with heat-tempered glass doors. Keep the hearth area clear of newspapers. Have the chimney cleaned regularly.

* Tack down carpeting; back rugs with slip-resistant coating or pads. Use nonskid polish on waxed floors.

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