Spring Safety Tips – Part II
This is a continuation from last week’s column, sharing ideas to make you and your family safer around your home. Again, a big thank you to Realty World Selzer Realty Construction team leader Matt Jacobson for his expertise.
1. Extension Cords
Extension cords are a necessary evil masquerading as a helpful tool. I say this because one of my children almost died when he was a toddler by putting the end of an extension cord in his mouth. Thankfully, he “only” ended up with third-degree burns inside his mouth. Keep extension cords away from toddlers!
Extension cords can also be tripping and fire hazards. To avoid tripping, be sure to secure cords and keep them out of high traffic areas. And be aware, if an extension cord has been safely stowed under a rug, it can fray without anyone’s notice, making it a fire hazard.
2. Uneven Flooring
Rippled carpet, torn vinyl, loose floorboards and thresholds, or cracked cement are tripping hazards that can (and should) be avoided. A handyman can make short work of re-stretching carpet, replacing torn vinyl, or securing a loose floorboard. Fixing cement is often a slightly more involved repair, but not terribly expensive or time-consuming.
3. Roof Walks
Walking on the roof should be avoided if possible. It’s bad for the roof and potentially dangerous, but sometimes there’s no way around it. If you were to fall off an 18-foot roof, you’d have about a 50/50 chance of survival (depending largely on what you fell onto and how you landed—aim for the freshly tilled garden). Walking on the roof is safer if you use the buddy system. It’s great to have someone watching out for you to alert you to danger (or if things don’t go well, to call the ambulance).
Getting up to and down from the roof requires good ladder safety, including having someone secure the bottom of the ladder and making sure the top of the ladder goes at least three feet above your exit point.
4. Chimney Fires
At the end of the winter season, we make fewer fires, but sometimes a chilly morning or evening just calls out for a fire. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected for a few years, you’d be amazed at how blocked it can become, putting you at risk for a chimney fire that can spread to your roof and then burn your house down.
The good news? Chimney fires are relatively easy to put out. If you throw a cup of water on the fire inside the fireplace, the steam will go up through the chimney and put out the fire. The other good news? If you have your chimney inspected every year or so, and you have a spark arrester, your chances for a fire are pretty remote.
To keep your chimney clean, burn seasoned hard wood. Soft wood or unseasoned wood often has too much sap. If you buy wood a year in advance, you’ll know for sure it’s well seasoned.
5. Fire Alarms and Fire Exits
Since we’re on a roll with the fire theme, let’s keep going. Every home should have a fire alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm. It used to be that Daylight Savings signaled the time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarm. Now, combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms have a 10-year battery that shouldn’t be tampered with. Install it per the manufacturer’s instructions and sleep soundly.
Sleep soundly, that is, until the alarm goes off—then run for the nearby fire exit. Every sleeping room with an accessible window or door should be setup as a fire exit. If the window has burglar bars, they should have a fool-proof opening mechanism from the inside.
If you have questions about any other home safety tips, real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.