Monthly Archives: April 2016

Your Older Home a Safe Home

Homes built today must adhere to strict safety codes. Older homes, while offering plenty of charm and character, are more likely to have safety issues — potential problems can range from lead paint and asbestos to faulty wiring and wobbly stairs.

But you can make an older home a safe home. Educate yourself about some of the dangers associated with old homes and take any necessary action to transform your older house into one that’s as safe as possible.

The Dangers of Lead Paint and Asbestos in Older Homes

Certain materials used to build and remodel older homes are no longer used today because of safety concerns associated with them. These materials include:

  • Asbestos.Asbestos was used in insulation, shingling, millboard, textured paints, and floor tiles in older homes to make them resistant to fire. But when asbestos becomes airborne, it can be inhaled and can accumulate in your lungs, potentially leading to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and fatal scarring of the lungs. Since asbestos-containing materials are usually not dangerous when they are in good condition, it is usually best to leave these materials alone. But if you’re planning on remodeling your home and removing them, you will need to contact local environmental health officials to find out how to have these materials properly removed and, equally important, properly disposed of. If you aren’t sure if you have asbestos-containing materials in your home, a professional asbestos inspector can do an assessment and advise you.
  • Lead paint.Lead-based paint was once commonly used to paint homes, but health professionals now know that airborne lead can lead to serious health problems, such as damage to the brain, nervous system, blood cells, and kidneys. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause convulsions, coma, and even death. If your home was built prior to 1960, there is a good chance it contains lead paint. Like asbestos-containing materials, surfaces with lead-based paint are usually not dangerous if they are in good condition. But lead paint that is chipping or disturbed by friction or remodeling can cause lead poisoning. You can hire a professional who has been trained in dealing with lead paint problems to test your home and help you remove it or make your home safer. If you have children and you suspect your home contains lead-based paint, have them tested for lead exposure.

If you are considering purchasing an older home, you should first determine if asbestos or lead is a problem, especially if you are planning on renovating or restoring the home. Always make sure qualified professionals inspect the house and determine the extent of the problem.

Do You Have a Kitchen Fires

unduhan-34According to the most recent government statistics available, there are more than 150,000 kitchen fires in the United States yearly, with hundreds of people killed and thousands more injured. Cooking mishaps cause up to 90 percent of kitchen fires, and most of those are grease fires. Those frightening statistics lead up to one big question: Do you know what to do when a kitchen fire flares? Should you first reach for the fire extinguisher or for the phone to call the fire department?

Grease Fires in the Kitchen

Grease fires belong in a class by themselves and should not be handled like any other kitchen fire. Rule No. 1: Never pour water on a grease fire. The best way to handle a grease fire is to smother it, if possible, and let it die out. Follow these specifics:

  • Whenever you’re cooking, have an oven mitt, a potholder, and a lid that fits your pan all on hand and ready to grab in case fire sparks.
  • If grease catches on fire in your cooking pan, quickly put on the oven mitt, then place the lid over the pan to smother the fire. Try to slide the lid over the flames as opposed to dropping the lid down from above.
  • Turn off the burner and leave the pan exactly where it is so that it can cool.
  • Never move the pan, never carry it outside or put it in the sink, and don’t lift the lid until the pan has turned cool.

Oven, Microwave, and Electrical Fires

Fires can happen anywhere in the kitchen — near an electrical outlet, in the microwave, or in the stove. Here are some tips to help you know what to do in case of any of these kitchen fires:

  • Oven fires. Immediately close the oven door and turn it off. If the fire doesn’t go out right away, call the fire department. Have the oven inspected and repaired before you use it again.
  • Microwave fires. Close the microwave door and keep it closed. Turn the microwave off and unplug it if you can do so safely. Leave it closed and don’t use it again until you can have the appliance checked out by a technician.
  • Electrical fires. Prevent electrical fires by not overloading your electrical outlets with appliances. If a fire starts, use a fire extinguisher; never douse it with water. Always call the fire department for an electrical fire, even if you have already put it out with the fire extinguisher.

Using a Fire Extinguisher on Kitchen Fire

Every kitchen should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Get one that’s labeled as safe to use on any kind of fire, and keep it within easy reach.

If a fire starts, you won’t have time to stop and read the directions. Become familiar with these tips to understand how to use a fire extinguisher on a small kitchen fire:

  • First, remove the pin from the fire extinguisher — it won’t work if you don’t.
  • Point the extinguisher toward the base of the fire, not the top of the flames.
  • Holding it by the handle, press down on the lever on the fire extinguisher; just let go when you want to stop.
  • Spray horizontally back and forth across the fire until it’s extinguished, remembering to aim low.