Tag Archives: trash

Always Protected from Fire

Protect Yourself by Practicing Home Fire Safety

The U.S. Fire Administration says more than 360,000 fires destroyed homes in the United States in 2010. These fires caused 2,555 deaths and more than 13,000 injuries. Clearly, we should take house fires seriously. Taking small steps can help you stay safe.

One of the most important things you can do is make sure you have working smoke alarms in all major rooms of your home. Most of all, be sure you have one near your bedroom. Change the batteries twice a year, or ask someone to help you change them.

You should also check for possible fire starters. Make sure extension cords are not frayed, and don’t plug too many things into one outlet. In the kitchen, unplug small appliances, like your toaster, when you are not using them. Make sure the hood of your stove is clean and doesn’t have grease buildup. If you have a fireplace, put a screen up to block stray ashes and clean the chimney once a year.

Accidents can still happen. Make sure you know a couple ways to get out of your home if it catches fire. Make sure your house number is visible from the street. This helps firefighters get to you quickly.

Many fire stations will do a safety check at your home for free. Call your local fire department or senior center for details. And check out the sample fire safety checklist from the Urbana Fire Department.

Fires can happen quickly and be deadly. Keep your home secure, and have a safety plan. Some simple steps can go a long way toward keeping you safe.

Home Fire Safety Checklist

GENERAL

     Are your address numbers visible from the street to permit ease of identification?
     Are your smoke detectors in working order, batteries changed twice a year?
     Do you have an escape plan, meeting place, and do you practice it?

 ALL HOUSEHOLD AREAS

     Do you keep your passageway doors shut to reduce fire spread in the event of fire?
     Are you using extension cords? Limit their use.
     Check all electrical cords to make sure they are in good condition.
     Check to make sure outlets are not overloaded.
     Check all windows to make sure they operate smoothly.
     Do not allow waste paper and combustibles to collect and become a fire hazard.
     Ashtrays should be provided for all smokers. They should be disposed of properly.
     Are your household chemicals stored away from children?
     Are matches and lighters stored out of reach of children?
      No combustibles should be stored in the attic.

LIVING AREA

     Does your fireplace have a screen and hearth to protect from flying embers?
     Has your chimney been cleaned? Is it operating properly?

KITCHEN AREA

     Are all combustibles kept away from the cooking area?
     Is your range hood clean and vented properly?
     Are all unused small appliances unplugged when not in use?

UTILITY AREA

     Are your heating ducts properly maintained?
     Are combustibles stored away from the furnace and water heater?
     Is your furnace filter clean?
     Are there any oversized fuses in the fuse box?
     Are your washer and dryer properly grounded?
     Do you keep your basement door closed to reduce fire spread in the vent of fire?

GARAGE/STORAGE AREA

     Is there a solid core door separating your garage from the house?
     Are all flammable liquids stored in the proper containers?
     Is the gasoline mower properly stored away from ignition sources?

OUTSIDE AREA

     Are there any combustible materials close to the house?
Hoarding Warning Signs

Warning Signs of Hoarding

What Is Hoarding?

Lately, it seems like almost every cable TV channel has a show about hoarding and people who live in less-than-great conditions because they can’t let go of anything, even trash.

While these people represent extreme cases, even mild hoarding can be a problem. As we get older, we tend to hang onto things. This often creates dangerous living areas, especially for seniors who have issues with balance and falling.

Clutter can also lead to other problems. It makes it harder to keep track of things you need like bills, meds, keys, and contact info for your friends and loved ones.

People with hoarding disorders usually save things because they believe these things will be needed in the future, they have emotional significance, and because having these things makes them feel safer and more secure. Because of this, it’s very different than collecting, when people careful find and display special items, like stamps or model cars.

Hoarding animals is one of the most dangerous forms of hoarding. Pets in these situations often aren’t cared for properly, which is dangerous for them and for you because of the unsanitary conditions this can lead to.

Signs of Hoarding

  • Cluttered living spaces, especially when it stops you from being able to use rooms for their intended purposes, like not being able to cook in the kitchen.
  • Extreme attachment to unimportant objects.
  • Letting trash build up to an unhealthy level.
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers and junk mail, or collecting lots of useless items.
  • Moving items from one pile to another without ever throwing anything away.
  • Trouble making decisions about and organizing your stuff.
  • Having a hard time letting others touch or borrow your things.
  • Embarrassment over your home.
  • Limited social interactions.

Getting Help

But hoarding is a treatable mental illness. Therapy where you talk with a doctor and certain drugs, usually ones used for depression, can help. Sticking to a treatment plan made with your doctor and support groups can also help you avoid hoarding.

You can also get help cleaning out your home with organizers, local assistance, or your friends and family. And you may find you have a lot of great things that you could donate to make someone else’s life better.

If hoarding affects you or someone you love, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. They can help you find a therapist who can work with you to make a treatment plan and recommend resources to help you clean up the clutter.