Home appliances and electronics provide us with unprecedented convenience in our daily lives. Yet, along with the benefits of these products come certain risks. The Home Safety Council estimates that 21 million injuries and 20,000 deaths occur each year from home-related incidents. It is important for consumers to identify potential safety threats within their homes and familiarize themselves with preventive measures to protect against accidents.
• Kitchen Appliances: Recent consumer incident reports to the Consumer Productr Safety Commission (CPSC) indicate that lights and control panels in some refrigerators and dishwashers have malfunctioned and caught fire, leading to home fires and electrical burns and injuries. Inspect the lights and control panels in your refrigerator and dishwasher to ensure they are properly working.
• Water Heaters: The flues on a limited number of water heaters produce extreme heat in the venting unit, presenting a fire hazard. Have your water heater inspected annually for fire hazards.
• Space Heaters: The CPSC reports that space heaters cause 21,800 home fires and approximately 300 deaths annually. Many of these incidents occur from malfunctioning heaters or flammable objects left too close to the heater. Keep space heaters at least four feet away from any flammable objects. Do not leave the heater running when you are not in the room.
• Falling Hazards: Unstable televisions, appliances and furniture present falling safety hazards, particularly to children. Between 2008 and 2010, an average of 22,500 injuries resulted from the instability of these items in the home, with 19,200 injuries involving unstable televisions, according to a September 2011 CPSC study. Check that appliances and home electronics – particularly top-heavy televisions – are adequately secured to prevent toppling.
• Furnaces & Heaters: Component electrical parts in certain direct-vent wall furnaces and other fuel-generated heaters can fail and create a risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Have the safety and operations of any panel of wall-heating product in your home inspected annually.
• Washers & Dryers: Clogged clothes dryer exhaust hoses and lint filters cause approximately 15,500 fires and ten deaths each year, according to the CPSC. Clean out the dryer lint filter after every use and inspect the dryer vent hose for lint accumulation every few months.
• Malfunctioning Products: If an appliance or electrical product appears to be malfunctioning, smoking or on fire, exit your home if your safety is at risk, and turn off the electrical circuit breaker to that area of the home.
• Flammable Objects: Check around your home to ensure that flammable objects are removed from the vicinity of heat-producing appliances and products. Test the positioning of furniture, appliances and televisions to protect against falling hazards.
• Smoke Detectors: Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all major rooms, hallways and bedrooms and in the vicinity of the HVAC systems. Place fire extinguishers in strategic locations. Inspect the detectors quarterly.
• Up to Code: The CPSC recommends that consumers make sure that appliances are installed and operated to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes by having a licensed professional install your home appliances. By abiding by these few, simple rules, you’ll have a safer home.
Source: The Safety Report
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