HOME SAFETY TIPS FROM

Fire Safety and Protection Tips 

                         

Make sure all family members know what to do in the event of a fire. Draw a floor plan with at least two methods of fire escape in very room. Make a drawing for each floor. Dimensions do not need to be correct. Make sure the plan shows important details: stairs, hallways and windows that can be used as fire escape routes.

Test windows and doors-do they open easy enough? Are they wide enough. Or tall enough?

Choose a safe meeting place outside the house.

Practice alerting other members. It is a good idea to keep a bell and flashlight in each bedroom.

Conduct a family meeting and discuss the following topics: 

PPFL  
Practice evacuating the building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke generated by a fire most likely will make it difficult to see.
Practice staying low to the ground when escaping.
Feel all doors before opening them. If a door is hot, get out another way.
Learn to stop, drop to the ground, roll if clothes catch fire.

Install smoke detectors  
Check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and burning fires. At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure. Purchase smoke detectors labeled by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).

Post emergency numbers near telephones.
Be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.

After a fire emergency
Give first aid where appropriate. Seriously injured victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately. Stay out of the damaged building. Return only when fire authorities say it is safe.

Make sure you have a safe fire escape method for all situations
You may have installed a very expensive home security system. But if you cannot escape the burning structure you have a false level of confidence.

Regardless of the structure, Fire Escape Systems has a solution for you!

Additional Tips For Fire Safety  

Space Heaters Need Space
Keep portable and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that may burn. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to sleep. Children and pets should always be kept away from them.

Smokers Need To Be Extra Careful
Never smoke in bed or when you are sleepy. Carelessly discarded cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.

Be Careful Cooking
Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Keep the handles of your pots turned inward so they do not over-hang the stove. If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner.

Matches and Lighters are Dangerous
In the hands of a child, matches and lighters can be deadly! Store them where kids can't reach them, preferably in a locked area. Teach children that matches and lighters are "tools" and should only be used by adults.

Use Electricity Safely
If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords and don't overload extension cords. They should not be run under rugs. Never tamper with the fuse box or use the improper size fuse.

Cool a Burn
If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately!

Be Careful of Halogen Lights
If you have halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas. Never leave them on when you leave your home or office.

Fire can engulf a house in 60 seconds! 
Make sure you have a safe and quick method of escape!

Home Safety Tips:

Most accidents occur at home and many of them are preventable, so it is important that your home is as safe as possible. Here are some helpful tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on making your home a safer place for everyone. Click on the area of the house you are interested in to go immediately to the corresponding tips.

Basement
When using power tools, good lighting can reduce the chance that you will accidentally cut your finger. Either install additional light, or avoid working with power tools in the area.

Basement, garages, and storage areas can contain many tripping hazards and sharp or pointed tools that can make a fall even more hazardous. Keep an operating flashlight handy. Have an electrician install switches at each entrance to a dark area.

Replacing a correct size fuse with a larger size fuse can present a serious fire hazard. If the fuse in the box is rated higher than that intended for the circuit, excessive current will be allowed to flow and possibly overload the outlet and house wiring to the point that a fire can begin. Be certain that correct-size fuses are used. (If you do not know the correct sizes, consider having an electrician identify and label the sizes to be used.)

Use a properly connected 3-prong adapter for connecting a 3-prong plug to a 2-hole receptacle. Consider replacing old tools that have neither a 3-prong plug nor are double insulated.

Power tools used with guards removed pose a serious risk of injury from sharp edges or moving parts. Replace guards that have been removed from power tools.

Improperly grounded appliances can lead to electric shock. Check with your service person or an electrician if you are in doubt.

If containers of flammable and volatile liquids are not tightly closed, vapors may escape that may be toxic when inhaled. Check containers periodically to make sure they are tightly closed. Gasoline, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored out of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. Remove these products from the areas near heat or flame such as heaters, furnaces, water heaters, ranges, and other gas appliances.

Death may occur when people swallow such everyday substances as charcoal lighter, paint thinner and remover, antifreeze and turpentine. These poisons should have child-resistant caps, be stored in the original containers with the original labels, and be kept locked up out of sight and reach of children.

Bathrooms
A light switch near the bathroom door will prevent you from walking through a dark area. Install a night light. Inexpensive lights that plug into outlets are available. Consider replacing the existing switch with a "glow switch" that can be seen in the dark.

Electrical appliances and power cords can cause shock or electrocution if they come in contact with water. Consider adding new outlets for convenience and safety; ask your electrician to install outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against electric shock. A GFCI is a shock-protection device that will detect electrical fault and shut off electricity before serious injury or death occurs.

Wet soapy tile or porcelain surfaces are especially slippery and may contribute to falls. Apply textured strips or appliqués on the floors of tubs and showers. Use non-skid mats in the tub and shower, and on the bathroom floor.

Grab bars can help you get into and out of your tub or shower, and can help prevent falls. Check existing bars for strength and stability, and repair if necessary. Attach grab bars through the tile to structural supports in the wall, or install bars specifically designed to attach to the sides of the bathtub.

Water temperature above 120 degrees can cause tap water scalds. Lower the setting on your hot water heater to "Low" or 120 degrees. If you are unfamiliar with the controls of your water heater, ask a qualified person to adjust it for you. If your hot water system is controlled by the landlord, ask the landlord to consider lowering the setting. If the water heater does not have a temperature setting, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water at the tap. Always check water temperature by hand before entering bath or shower. Taking baths, rather than showers, reduces the risk of a scald from suddenly changing water temperatures.

Grandparents should use child-resistant vials if they are able to. Although grandparents may get traditional easy-to-open closures by asking their pharmacist for them, the child-resistant vials should be used whenever children are around.

Store all medicines separately from household products, and store all household chemical products away from food. Keep items in their original containers. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using. Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of unneeded medicines when the illness for which they were prescribed is over. Pour contents down drain or toilet, and rinse container before discarding. Turn on a light at night and put on your glasses to read the label when you need to take a medicine. If any questions arise, consult your physician. Never mix medicines and alcohol, and never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine. Never "borrow" a friend's medicine or take old medicines. Tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking so you can avoid adverse drug interactions.

Bedrooms
Lamps or switches located close to each bed will enable people getting up at night to see where they are going. Rearrange furniture closer to switches or move lamps closer to beds. Install night lights.

Use electric blankets according to the manufacturer's instructions. Don't allow anything on top of the blanket while it is in use. (This includes other blankets or comforters, even pets sleeping on top of the blanket.) Don't set electric blankets so high that they could burn someone who falls asleep while they are on. Never go to sleep with a heating pad if it is turned on because it can cause serious burns even at relatively low settings.

In case of an emergency, it is important to be able to reach the telephone without getting out of bed.

Do not smoke in bed. Smoking in bed is a major cause of accidental fire deaths in homes.

Locate heaters or other fire sources three feet from the bed to prevent the bed from catching on fire.

Garages
Take extra precautions in storing and using flammable liquids, such as gasoline, paint thinners, etc. They produce invisible explosive vapors that can ignite by a small spark at considerable distances from the flammable substance. Store outside the house.

Basement, garages, and storage areas can contain many tripping hazards and sharp or pointed tools that can make a fall even more hazardous. Keep an operating flashlight handy. Have an electrician install switches at each entrance to a dark area.

Death may occur when people swallow such everyday substances as charcoal lighter, paint thinner and remover, antifreeze and turpentine. These poisons should have child-resistant caps, be stored in the original containers with the original labels, and be kept locked up out of sight and reach of children.

General
Purchase a smoke detector if you do not have one. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and are required by law in many localities. Check local codes and regulations before you buy your smoke detector because some codes require specific types of detectors. They provide an early warning which is critical because the longer the delay, the deadlier the consequences.
Read the instructions that come with the detector for advice on the best place to install it. At a minimum, detectors should be located near bedrooms and one on every floor. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper maintenance. Never disconnect a detector. Consider relocating the detector rather than disconnecting it if it is subject to nuisance alarms, e.g. from cooking. Replace the battery annually, or when a "chirping" sound is heard.

Be sure that the chimney and stovepipe were installed correctly in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and local codes. If there is any doubt, a building inspector or fire official can determine whether the system is properly installed. Minimize creosote formation by using proper stove size and avoiding use of low damper settings for extended periods of time. Have the chimney checked and cleaned routinely by a chimney "sweep" at least once a year. Inspect it frequently, as often as twice a month if necessary, and clean when a creosote buildup is noted.

Never use charcoal to cook or provide heat inside enclosed areas such as tents, campers, vans, cars, trucks, homes, garages, or mobile homes because the carbon monoxide can kill you.

Establish advanced family planning for escape. It is an important partner with smoke detectors and it will prepare you for a fire emergency.

Arrange furniture so that outlets are available for lamps and appliances without the use of extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, place it on the floor against a wall where people cannot trip over it. Remove cords from under furniture or carpeting. Replace damaged or frayed cords. If the rating on the cord is exceeded because of the power requirements of one or more appliances being used on the cord, change the cord to a higher rated one or unplug some appliances.

Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide. Apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of rugs and runners. Purchase rugs with slip-resistant backing. Over time, adhesive on tape can wear away. Rugs with slip-resistant backing also become less effective as they are washed.

Telephone numbers for the Police, Fire Department, and local Poison Control Center, along with a neighbor's number, should be readily available. Write the numbers in large print and tape them to the phone, or place them near the phone where they can be seen easily.

Have at least one telephone located where it would be accessible in the event of an accident which leaves you unable to stand.

Unusually warm or hot outlets or switches may indicate that an unsafe wiring condition exists. Unplug cords from outlets and do not use the switches. Have an electrician check the wiring as soon as possible. 

Unvented heaters should be used with room doors open or window slightly open to provide ventilation. The correct fuel, as recommended by the manufacturer, should always be used. Vented heaters should have proper venting, and the venting system should be checked frequently. Improper venting is the most frequent cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, and older consumers are at special risk.

If you don't have a step stool, consider buying one. Choose one with a handrail that you can hold onto while standing on the top step. Before climbing on any step stool, make sure it is fully opened and stable. Tighten screws and braces on the step stool. Discard step stools with broken parts.

For all stairways, check lighting, handrails, and the condition of the steps and coverings. Stairs should be lighted so that each step, particularly the step edges, can be clearly seen while going up and down stairs. Consider refinishing or replacing worn treads, or replacing worn carpeting. Worn or torn coverings or nails sticking out from coverings could snag your foot or cause you to trip.

The lighting should not produce glare or shadows along the stairway. You should be able to turn on the lights before you use the stairway from either end. If no other light is available, keep an operating flashlight in a convenient location at the top and bottom of the stairs.

People can trip over objects left on stairs, particularly in the event of an emergency or fire. Remove all objects from the stairway.

Lead-based paint is a major source of lead poisoning for children and can also affect adults. In children, lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage and can impair mental functioning. In adults, it can cause irritability, poor muscle coordination, and nerve damage to the sense organs and nerves controlling the body. If you have lead-based paint, you should take steps to reduce your exposure to lead.

Avoid activities that will disturb or damage lead-based paint and create dust. Contact your state and local health departments' lead poisoning prevention programs and housing authorities for information about testing labs and contractors who can safely remove lead-based paint.

Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it, use only cold water for drinking and cooking. Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.

Regularly have a professional check your spa or hot tub and make sure it is in good, safe working condition, and that drain covers are in place and not cracked or missing. Check the drain covers yourself throughout the year. Know where the cut-off switch for your pump is so you can turn it off in an emergency. Be aware that consuming alcohol while using a spa could lead to drowning. Keep the temperature of the water in the spa at 104 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

If possible, change the water in your room humidifier daily. Empty the tank before you fill it. Clean your room humidifier well and often during the heating season. Be sure to unplug the humidifier before cleaning. Follow the manufacturer's suggested cleaning methods. If chlorine bleach or other cleaning product or disinfectant is used, make sure to rinse the tank well to avoid breathing harmful chemicals.
Operate portable electric heaters away from combustible materials.

Do not place heaters where towels or the like could fall on the appliance and trigger a fire. Avoid using extension cords unless absolutely necessary. If you must use an extension cord with your electric heater, make sure it is marked with a power rating at least as high as that of the heater itself. Keep the cord stretched out. Do not permit the cord to become buried under carpeting or rugs. Do not place anything on top of the cord. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture or the like. Never use heaters to dry
wearing apparel or shoes.

Always check to see that cigarettes are extinguished before emptying ashtrays. Stubs that are still burning can ignite trash.

Look for furniture designed to reduce the likelihood of furniture fire from cigarettes. Much of the furniture manufactured today has significantly greater resistance to ignition by cigarettes than upholstered furniture manufactured 10 to 15 years ago. This is particularly true of furniture manufactured to comply with the requirements of the Upholstered Furniture Action Council's (UFAC) Voluntary Action Program. Such upholstered furniture may be identified by the gold colored tag on the furniture item.
 
The legend on the front of the tag in red letters states -- "Important Consumer Safety Information from UFAC."

Always check the furniture where smokers have been sitting for improperly discarded smoking materials. Ashes and lighted cigarettes can fall unnoticed behind or between cushions or under furniture.

Do not place or leave ashtrays on the arms of chairs where they can be knocked off.

Consider fabrics such as 100 percent polyester, nylon, wool and silk that are difficult to ignite and tend to self extinguish. Consider purchasing garments that can be removed without having to pull them over the head. Clothes that are easily removed can help prevent serious burns. If a garment can be quickly stripped off when it catches fire, injury will be far less severe or avoided altogether.

Kitchen
Never place or store pot holders, plastic utensils, towels and other non-cooking equipment on or near the range because these items can be ignited.

Roll up or fasten long loose sleeves with pins or elastic bands while cooking. Do not reach across a range while cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire than are short sleeves. Long loose sleeves are also more apt to catch on pot handles, overturning pots and pans and cause scalds.

Keep constant vigilance on any cooking that is required above the "keep warm" setting.

Know where the "danger" items are -- medicines, toxic bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes, and waxes. Look for items packaged in child-resistant containers. Don't leave them under a sink or in plain view in a garage -- lock them away in a secure place, out of a child's sight and reach.

Pesticides
Always store pesticides away from children's reach, in a locked cabinet or garden shed. Read the label first and follow the directions to the letter, including all precautions and restrictions. Before applying pesticides (indoors and outdoors), remove children and their toys from the area and keep them away until it is dry or as recommended by the label. Never leave pesticides unattended when you are using them -- not even for a few minutes. Never transfer pesticides to other containers -- children may associate certain containers with food or drink. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use. Alert others to the potential hazard, especially grandparents and caregivers.

Paint

Use paint strippers outdoors if possible. If you must use them indoors, cross-ventilate by opening all doors and windows. Make sure there is fresh air movement throughout the room. Ventilate the area before, during, and after applying and stripping. Never use any paint stripper in a poorly ventilated area. If work must be done indoors under low ventilation conditions, consider having the work done professionally instead of attempting it yourself.

Do not use flammable paint strippers near any source of sparks, flame, or high heat. Do not work near gas stoves, kerosene heaters, gas or electric water heaters, gas or electric clothes dryers, gas or electric furnaces, gas or electric space heaters, sanders, buffers, or other electric hand tools. Open flames, cigarettes, matches,lighters, pilot light, or electric sparks can cause the chemicals in the paint strippers to suddenly catch fire.

(NOTE: All Home Safety Tips come courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207)

POOL SAFETY TIPS

A swimming pool should have a fence or barrier surrounding all four sides with self-closing and self-latching gates. If the house is part of the barrier, all doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with an alarm. Position latches out of reach of young children. Keep all doors and windows leading to the pool area secure to prevent small children from getting to the pool.

Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a "designated watcher" to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the "watcher." When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk. If a child is missing, check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the pool area.

Place tables and chairs well away from the pool fence to prevent children from climbing into the pool area.

Have a telephone at poolside to avoid having to leave children unattended in or near the pool to answer a telephone elsewhere. Keep emergency numbers at the poolside telephone.

Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

Divers should observe the following precautions. Never dive into above-ground pools. They are too shallow. Don't dive from the side of an in-ground pool. Enter the water feet first. Dive only from the end of the diving board and not from the sides. Dive with your hands in front of you and always steer up immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool. Don't dive if you have been using alcohol or drugs because your reaction time may be too slow. Improper use of pool slides presents the same danger as improper diving techniques. Never slide down head first; slide down feet first only.

Supervision is the key word when it comes to pool safety, but supervision combined with a variety of barriers and safety devices - fences, latched gates, locked doors, pool covers and more - goes even further toward drowning prevention.

Drowning prevention tips for pool owners 

  • Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area for any reason.
  • Don't be distracted by doorbells, phone calls, chores or conversations. If you must leave the pool area, take the child with you, making sure the pool gate latches securely when it closes.
  • Always keep your eyes on the child or children. Designate a child watcher, whether you or someone else, when you attend a party or have friends or family over.
  • Talk with baby-sitters about pool safety, supervision and drowning prevention.
  • Post rules such as "No running," "No pushing," "No dunking" and "Never swim alone." Enforce the rules.
  • Don't rely on swimming lessons or "floaties" to protect your children in the water.
  • Don't assume that drowning or a drowning incident couldn't happen to you or your family.
  • Don't have a false sense of security just because you think your pool area and home are secure. Always watch your children, whether in the house or outside.
  • Attend a CPR class. Make sure your baby-sitter knows CPR.
  • For the nearest cardiopulmonary resuscitation class, contact your fire department, Red Cross or hospital.
  • Encourage your neighbors to follow pool safety guidelines, including keeping their back gates and doors locked, and their pool gates securely closed and latched.
  •                               

    GUIDE FOR BABYSITTERS 

    By: Captain Bud Gundersen

    When you babysit, you are entrusted with a child's life. Your primary responsibility is to care for the children's needs and most of all: keep them safe. You can prepare yourself for this important trust by following these guidelines.

    What to do after the parents leave 

    In case of fire         

    A well-prepared babysitter will be highly respected and greatly appreciated by parents. Any sitter who takes these recommendations to heart will be in great demand.

    CHRISTMAS SAFETY TIPS

    Christmas Tree Safety  

    Holiday Home Safety  

    "Safety" gift ideas

    Put together a gift basket containing one or more of the following items:

    • Three smoke detectors and batteries.
    • A quality fire extinguisher.
    • A flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
    • A first-aid kit.
    • A carbon Monoxide detector.
    • A mobile phone.
    • A second floor escape ladder.
    • "Emergency kit"- energy bars, water, battery radio, flashlight/light sticks and a first-aid kit packed in a small travel bag.

    Halloween Safety Tips 

    Trick-or-Treaters 

    • Carry a flashlight
    • Walk, don't run.
    • Stay on Sidewalks
    • Obey traffic signals
    • Stay in familiar neighborhoods
    • Don't cut across yards or driveways.
    • Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
    • Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
    • Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume)
    • Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
    • Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
    • (If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
    • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
    • Approach only houses that are lit.
    • Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.

    Parents  

    • Make your child eat dinner before setting out.
    • Children should carry quarters so they can call home.
    • Ideally, young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult.
    • If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
    • If you buy a costume, look for one made of flame-retardant material.
    • Older children should know where to reach you and when to be home.
    • You should know where they're going.
    • Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything.
    • Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.

    Homeowners 

    • Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones.
    • Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or inadvertently bitting a trick-or-treater.
    • Battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame.
    • If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
    • Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle.
    • Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.
    • Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins.

    Hershey's Safety Quiz and Goulish Games - Learn about keeping your trick-or-treat outing safe with this interactive quiz.

    Using
    (By: Captain Bud Gundersen)

    The 911 emergency telephone system is in place in many US cities to assist citizens with POLICE, MEDICAL or FIRE emergencies. Check to see that your area has 911. If not, create a list of the appropriate emergency numbers and place a list near each phone. It should be realized that non-emergency calls to the 911 system or any emergency phone number can create delays in handling other very serious emergencies that require immediate attention. The following are guidelines for the proper use of the 911 system for FIRE and MEDICAL emergencies for most major cities. Learn the system in your area. Learn about the emergency systems whereever you may travel.

    Do not call 911 for Non-Emergency transportation, use taxi cabs or call a orivate ambulance listed under "ambulance" in your local telephone directory.

    Examples of non-emergency situations are:

    • Minor illness or injury not requiring immediate help:
      • Flu/common cold
      • Chronic (ongoing) aches and pain
      • Minor cuts
      • Broken fingers or toes
    • Emotional Upsets
    • Routine Transportation to medical offices, clinics and hospitals

    Remember, these are general guidelines -- If there is any doubt , do not hesitate to call the paramedics.

    for a Life-Threatening Emergency  such as:

    • Breathing difficulty/shortness of breath/ breathing has stopped.
    • Choking (can't talk or breathe).
    • Constant chest pain - in adults (lasting longer than two minutes).
    • Uncontrollable bleeding / large blood loss.
    • Drowning.
    • Electrocution.
    • Drug overdose /poisoning.
    • Gunshot wounds, stabbings.
    • Vomiting blood.
    • Sudden fainting /unconsciousness
    • Convulsions / seizures (uncontrolled jerking, movements the patient may fall to the floor).
    • Severe allergic reaction (difficulty breathing / unresponsive)
    • Major burns (white or charred skin: blisters and redness over large area).
    • Someone who will not wake up, even when you shake them.
    • Severe injuries from:
      • Traffic accidents
      • Head Injury
      • Significant falls
      • Physical entrapment (i.e. car accident with victim trapped in the vehicle)

    What happens when you request emergency medical services on 911:

    911 should only be used when a true emergency exists, "POLICE", "FIRE", or "MEDICAL". Identify your call as a MEDICAL or FIRE emergency. In many area the dispatcher will ELECTRONICALLY RECEIVE the address and telephone number OF THE CALLER. However, if you are not sure if the emergency system in your area captures that information, tell the dispatcher your address and phone number.

    Critical information the dispatcher needs to know:

    • What's the emergency? What's wrong?
    • Where is the emergency? Give the address, include building number, apartment number, nearest cross street. The name of the building is also helpful.
    • Who needs help? Age/ number of people.
    • Are they conscious? Yes or no.
    • Are they breathing? Yes or no.

    The accuracy of all telephone numbers and addresses must be verified again by the dispatcher.

    Note: Wait for the fire department to hang up before you do.

    Remain calm and give direct answers to the questions asked. Speak slowly and clearly. You will be asked additional questions so the dispatcher can send the right type of help. All questions are important. €

    The dispatcher may also provide you with cretical pre-arrival instructions, such as CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) or the Heimlich Maneuver.

    Understanding what happens when a 911 call is placed will help the system run more efficiently and will bring you the emergency medical service you need in the shortest possible time.

    How you can help before the fire department arrives:  

    • Assure the patient that help is on the way.
    • Keep the phone line clear after the 911 call is made.
    • Direct someone to wait out front to meet the ambulance and lead the way.
    • Wave a flashlight or turn on flashers of a car or porch light if it's dark or visibility is poor.
    • Consider having an interpreter if the patient does not speak English.
    • Secure pets, especially dogs, in a separate area.
    • Have a visible address, easily readable from the street.
    • Gather or make a list of medications that the patient is using and give to emergency personnel.

    START FIRST AID   

    • Apply direct pressure to the wound if the victim is bleeding.
    • Perform the Heimlich Maneuver if a choking victim can't breathe or talk.
    • Begin CPR if the victim has no pulse and has stopped breathing.

    Childproofing Your Home

    Safety Tips http://www.twinslist.org

    Babyproofing homes is a challenge for all parents, but with more than one infant, the job is, well, multiplied. Here are some important babyproofing and safety tips.

    • General babyproofing tips Get down on your hands and knees and view the world in a new light.
    • Tripletproofing Two (or three!) heads really are better than one....
    • Fire Safety Do you know how you'll get all your kids out safely?
    • Resources-- a new (and growing) collection of safety-related web sites, on topics from basic baby-proofing to traffic safety for older kids, to personal safety.


    General Childproofing Tips

    With a single born child, babyproofing is fairly simple. The basic rule of thumb for beginners is to have Mom or Dad or other grown-up get down on the floor and start looking at things from baby's perspective.
    • Cap or cover all outlets with something that can't be pulled off or opened by a child under five years old. Please Note:
      The January 1997 issue of Consumers Report Magazine published test results on many common childproofing items. The plugs used to cover electric sockets are a major choking hazzard! Most of the plugs sold on the market today failed the choke tube test (e.g., these plugs can pass through a tube which is the same width as a toddler's esophagus). The only ones that passed CU's tests are Gerber 76184, and Safety 1st 1711.

      The safest option is the plate covers with the holes that turn at an angle when something's not plugged in.

    • Look for any dangling electric cords. Remove or restrain cords (ie: tape cord to furniture, wall or floor so child can't pull on it and thus pull lamp or TV or other item on top of them).
    • Protect baby/child from sharp edges of furniture, hearths and other corners that may cause bruising or other minor injury when fallen against.
    • Take up any loose rugs or tape them firmly to the floor/carpet to avoid slips and slides of the running toddler.
    • In the kitchen and bathrooms, make all cupboards, cabinets and drawers inaccessible to young ones. Latches, special hinges and locks are commonly used and easily available in most areas.
    • Safeguard stove and oven controls so only adults can operate. Keep handles facing away from front of stove (so a curious child won't pull hot contents down on themselves).
    • Tablecloths and other coverings are easily pulled upon by little ones thinking they are firm enough support to pull up on. Remove these for awhile.
    • Be aware of unusual choking hazards. One list member recently found her baby choking on a bandaid from a vaccine earlier that day. If a baby needs a bandage, be sure to cover it with long clothing.

    • Have a fire safety plan in place.
      The first day our home health nurse came out, she went over fire safety and having been in scouts for years we had a plan, just not one with a new baby in mind.... Her suggestion was to put the infant in a pillow case to make it easier to climb out the window of our top story. This is similar to the quilt, but more readily available and easier with one child. Also, you could tie the pillow case and lower it to the ground first if you had to jump or carry other small children.

    This is what most people will do for ONE baby/child, and all the above is well advised for any number of babies/children. However, more than one requires extra thought and caution.. The more children, the more caution and preparedness needed.

    TRIPLETPROOFING: Childproofing with MULTIPLES

    When tripletproofing, you need to look for more than the usual concerns as two or three the same age will get into more by helping one another. All areas they have access to should be examined carefully, not just the rooms they are in most-- the whole house, the garage, the patio, the porch, the yard, and so on. Anyplace you go with your toddling trio should be quickly evaluated, and if not safe, limit time there as well as you can. Once they get to about five years, most of the need for this is past. Still, even older children can get into some surprising not so safe situations. So always try to be alert to what they are up to.

    Outlets
    Outlets that aren't needed at all should be securely covered over, even replacing the outlet cover with a solid one for a few years. Or you can remove all the cover plates on the outlets not currently in use and cover the outlets with duct tape then replace the plate and trim the tape. Outlets used often are best protected from the antics of more than one child trying to remove the plugs by changing the outlets to ones that require sliding open by an adult at the time of use. Outlets that will be in use all the time can still be protected by purchasing a special cover that will cover over the plugged in cord completely with a small hole for the cord to run out of. Then that cord should be secured with tape or U-nails (like what the phone lines are held to the wall with) to floor, wall or furniture holding electric item.
    Sharp Corners/Edges
    ... can be inexpensively covered to protect young ones by using rolled cotton and duct tape around all edges and corners.
    Cupboards and cabinets
    The typical safety latches are not much deterant to two or three kids tugging on the door. The best alternative (isn't to much to look at) is to purchase small hinged clasps and small padlocks. Yes, I'm serious! And these types of hinges can also work for drawers (especially those without handles). The goal is to make the contents inaccessible. The appearance may be not what most of us had in mind for decor, but it's temporary! :)

    For doors and drawers with handles that can have something pulled through them, you may wish to consider running pvc pipes through to keep kids from using each drawer as a step to higher wonders! It may even be warranted to use metal pipe (check with your hardware store about price, size, & color availability). Wooden dowels will work if they are at least one inch thick (smaller ones break). Some are content to lock the top drawer and then run the pipe through the rest. Others have found it advantageous to have holes at both pipe ends and using slightly large clasp hinges padlocking the pipe to the hinge to keep it safe from the kids.

    A fast, cheap alternative is liberal use of duct tape, as long as you don't mind any damage to cabinet finishes or removing the sticky residue later. It takes so long to pull the tape off (especially if you've used it in more than one location on a door or drawer) that little hands can't get it open before you find them (they'll be unusually quiet, no doubt) :)

    Dressers, shelves, and other tall furnishings
    Bolt tall furnishings (wall units, bookshelves) to the wall. Use toggle bolts that will wing open inside the wall. If you're not sure about what to use, check with a professional.

    Dressers may need extra consideration, as small children can use the drawers as steps:

    We have had the wall straps on the girls' dresser and bookcase since last fall when I heard about a death of a twin in our MOTC [Mothers of Twins Club]. She was climbing on a dresser and was crushed to death by it. I don't think she was even 2 yet when it happened.

    Even the oven should be secured to the wall. A similar death, and many injuries, have occured when a toddler managed to open the oven door and stand on it. You may think it's too heavy to tip, but remember you'll have (at least) two toddlers to add their weight.

    Windows
    If the window is in a position where it may be fallen against by accident, please have it replaced with plexiglas for the early years (maybe longer). This will save all from countless worries about falling into broken glass and the resultant injuries. If that can't be done, consider placing baby gates across the window frame or look into other inside gating alternatives. Keeping low windows or accessible (by chair or some improvised steps) windows locked can help to prevent children from opening them; but use the rule of one lock per child at each window for best results. Use different ways to keep the window closed: a dowel, rod or stick placed against the direction of opening; pins placed thru both sashes or frames to prevent opening or moving; the usual lock that comes with most windows. All these are ways to keep the window from being opened. The reason to use all is so it takes each child a longer time to get it open or it takes all of them to work together (that way you will discover their attempt before they make their escape)!

    Also, please remember that you cannot count on window screens holding in a child. If a window which you often open is accessible, you'll need to take some steps to ensure that the kids can't get out. One option, if you have windows which will open from the top, is to leave the lower window closed and only open the top one. If you can't do that, try putting screws in the window frame, so that the windows only open a small amount-- far enough to let air in but not to let kids out.

    Baby Gates
    ...are very useful to bar a single babe from a specific area, but most are easily knocked down or climbed over by multiples. here are some possible sollutions:
    1. Double Gate, either with two at the same level or two and maybe even three at different levels in the same doorway.
    2. Put an inexpensive wooden screen across the doorway.
    3. Dutch doors (double doors which can be closed on the bottom while the top is open) to replace the regular door.
    4. Use gates that must be installed into the walls. This is still not completely tripletproofed; some older, heavier kids may still work together to end up pulling it out of the walls.
    5. Idea for areas where none of this works: look into pet restraining ideas for pets over 100 pounds. Many of these products will be much sturdier than baby products and often cost less, too.

    Doors
    Bi-fold doors, like you find in many closets, are a danger to little fingers. There are safety devices which fit on the top, preventing the panels from folding together unless you slide it over. However, they may not fit on every door. Another option for dealing with these doors is to place a nail in the top rails, fixing them in the open position. It may not look great, but it's better than dealing with pinched fingers!

    To prevent pinched fingers in regular doors, some parents of multiples simply drape a towel over the top. This prevents the door from slamming shut.

    Real Tripletproofing requires creativity from parents and caregivers that know a particular set of multiples VERY WELL. You need to evaluate their individual and combined talents and interests to provide enough exploration to grow yet still be relatively safe from accidents.

    If you have curious kids that pull from below
    ...take away all the tablecloths and similar items. Remove items af any value to you. Try sticky velcro attachments for items you wish to keep displayed. Also, for these type of kids, it helps to have a container with interesting items (that you change periodically) in each room to entice them away from things you don't want them playing with.
    If you have extra-active children
    If your multiples are the sort that get into roughhousing and rambunctious play, your best bet is to re-do the areas they will be in. Not total remodeling. :) But streamline the whole room(s). Get everything out that you would mind having broken. Not to encourage them to break anything, but to allow them the freedom they need without always needing to "watch out" or "be careful" about what they are doing. It's just temporary...try to remember that.
    If you have climbers
    Be sure tall furniture is bolted to the walls (see above). If it's at all possible, arrange an area indoors where they can climb in relative safety, without damaging the furniture or themselves. This will be a relief for all of you: you'll be able to give them an alternative when they start climbing on the best couch, and they'll be able to develop their climbing skills.

    Fire Safety with Multiples

    Firetruck
    Prepare for emergency exit of infants and toddlers by having an EMERGENCY QUILT always accessible in areas where the children will most often be.
    • An "emergency quilt" is a quilt, blanket, sheet, etc. that's large enough to hold all (2-6) kids.
    • In an emergency, place quilt on floor, put babies into center, and pull up corners to carry out. Simple.
    The quilt helps to cushion the inevitable bumps. Even if they are (combined) too heavy to carry, you can pull the whole quilt and get all little ones out at the same time. Minor problems from shoes and crowding is preferable to deciding who to take first and then returning (how many times?) to get the others. Depending on size of kids, it may be necessary to have two large quilts ready at all times. You can still pull all corners together and carry/pull as one.

    Contact the fire station that serves your home (or the central fire station of your community; city hall will have the non-emergency number if you can't find it) to let them know about any special circumstances in your home in case of emergency. They will usually give this info to other emergency agencies in that area. It is a good idea to let your local 911 people know that you have 2 or more babies in one room. When the police/firemen are on the way to your home, the 911 people get a description of your home on their computer with any special notes you have added.

    Some FDs will have decals to put into the windows (some are against this due to possible kidnapping risks) of the children's/babies' room. Others will provide decals for the front entrance (these will identify the needs, but not the location - ie - bedroom the babies' sleep in). It's important for FDs to know that there are a specific number of people not able to get themselves out of the home in an emergency!

    Please, everyone, take a few moments TODAY to contact your local FD and make them aware of any needs (#of babies/toddlers or special needs children/adults) in your home so they are ready to help *everyone* out to safety if it's ever needed!

    Additional safety precautions:

    • Every home should have a smoke detector in every bedroom, hallway, stairway, and every level besides. (cost:$5.00 each)
    • Check the batteries in the smoke detector monthly. Replace the batteries at least once a year. To aid in remembering when to change the batteries, get in the habit of replacing them every fall when you change the clocks back. If you live in an area which does not go on daylight savings time, choose a specific holiday or anniversary.
    • If you possibly can, have fire extingushers located in the kitchen, outside the furnace room, and at the entry. (cost $20 to $30.00 each)
    • Have your childeren taught fire safety by the local fire department. Most departments are proactive, and teach at schools, but having kids taught younger always improves the odds. (cost: $0)
    • Escape plans (cost $0), window ladders (cost $20.00), sprinkler systems (cost: $2000 to $3000, but when ordered in a new home the monthly cost increase is negligible and also improves the resale value), etc...
    • These things can all make the difference between life and a horrible tragedy. But, the most important thing that anyone can do is remove fire hazards from the home. Stop smoking, destroy all lighters, put all matches high up, in a locked box, and use common sense. (Cost :$0)

    Please pass this on to everyone you know. Everyone knows a family with a baby or more or with a member having special needs. :)

    Childproofing and General Safety Issues

    Baby Proofing Your Home
    Safety tips covering both indoor and outdoor home safety.  http://www.parentzone.com/parents/homesafty/index.htm

    The Paranoid Sisters
    "Greetings from the Paranoid Sisters. While raising our 6 children ages 2 1/2 to 6 (including fraternal twin boys), running a multi-million dollar diesel engine repair shop and magazine publishing company, we decided to partner to try to stop the senseless deaths of children."  http://www.paranoidsisters.com

    Children's Safety Network
    A national injury and violence prevention resource center, with many useful links.  http://www.edc.org/HHD/csn/

    Children's Safety Zone
    Stories and statistics regarding pool, fire, Christmas, and Halloween safety. You'll also find a section with a guide for young babysitters, including questions they should ask you, what to do in a given situation, etc.  http://www.sosnet.com/safety/safety1.html

    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides this web site with great information on staying safe. you'll also find information on first aid. But be sure to read it before you need it!  http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/

    National Safe Kids Campaign
    You'll find many good FAQs at this site.  http://www.safekids.org

    Kidsafe
    An Australian site dedicated to the prevention of accidental death and injury in children. http://www.ozemail.com.au/~kidsafen/

    Product Safety

    Consumer Products Safety Commission
    Looking for recall information? See the Consumer Products Safety Commission site You can search for information on past recalls, register for email updates, and more.  www.cpsc.gov

    The Danny Foundation
    Founded to prevent injuries, conduct research, and provide leadership to set standards for safe nursery products.  http://www.dannyfoundation.org

    StayPut: Crib Sheet Safety
    Ever notice that you can't find flat sheets for cribs? That's because of the danger of choking, should the child become entangled in the sheet. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen (and has) when the baby pulls off the fitted sheet. This site offers a product which covers the whole matress (like a pillowcase).
    http://www.babysheets.com/

    Traffic Safety

    Child Passenger Safety
    Information about air bags and car seats as they relate to kids; provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps/
    Home Page: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/

    Vince & Larry's Safety City
    Yes, the NHTSA crash test dummies get their own site! This is a fun place for kids to learn more about traffic safety.  http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/kids/

    Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
    Looking for ways to keep your kids safe when they get their first set of wheels? Start here. You'll also find information on why it's not safe to keep the helmet on at the playground.  http://www.bhsi.org/

    Fire Safety

    Fire Safety Tips for Kids
    Ready to teach your pre-schoolers what to do in the event of a fire? Start here, and let Buzzy the Smoke Detector and Reddy the Fire Extinguisher teach kids to be fire safe with easy to do tips.  http://members.cruzio.com/~hoax1950/KidsFireSafetyTips.html

    Personal Safety

    Stay Alert Stay Safe (SASS)
    As your twins grow, you'll need to find ways to keep them safe from dangers outside the home. This site offers web resources for parents, teachers, police and anyone interested in keeping our children safe on and off the net. The children's section offers many games and quizes. In English and French.  http://www.sass.ca

     

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