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Detecting And Avoiding Common Household Hazards

19 November 19 Author:Michelle Gaffaney
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Here are five of the most common household hazards to be aware of, and how to detect and avoid them!

Your home is where you want to feel comfortable and safe. You want to tuck your kids and yourself up at night knowing you have nothing to worry about. However, without due care and vigilance your home could become a risky place to live. So here is some advice on how to keep these five hazards from affecting you home.

Mold

Is an allergen that you don’t want in your home. They can cause an allergic reaction in any or all members of the family. Molds, including black molds like stachybotrys form when moisture is present in an area where there is also a food source, such as skin cells. You will be able to detect if there is mold growing in your home if you can smell a musty, earth like scent. Mold exposure isn’t that harmful to a healthy person but long term exposure can be bad for a persons health.

If mold is allowed to build up it can cause a more violent allergic reaction, which can then affect peoples breathing. In severe cases people can have an anaphylactic shock so it is important to tackle mold as soon as it shows.

You can prevent mold by keeping your home dry, having fans installed in bathrooms, and using anti-mold products. If you do find mold you can get professionals in, or there are some really great products available in the shops too.

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Exposed Asbestos

In the past asbestos was a commonly used building material until 1985 when its usage became banned in the UK. This was due to the link between asbestos and health issues such as Mesothelioma cancer. However, even though it can no longer be used in building it can still be found in older properties. The material isn’t harmful if left undisturbed, it is when it becomes airborne it is a real problem. Be careful if you decide to make structural changes to your home and it was made before the 1980’s! If you are planning on knocking any walls down or removing roofing seek professional advice first. Handling asbestos is a dangerous task and should only be done by a professional or someone experienced with asbestos.

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Slippery Surfaces (especially the bathroom!)

Funnily enough the bathroom is deemed a pretty dangerous room in a house. The wet and slippery surfaces can often lead to falls, with minor to serious injuries possibly inflicted. It is best to ensure you have anti slip mats in your bath, shower, or both. It is also worth putting drip mats down on the outside of your bath or shower too so you don’t risk slipping on the bathroom floor too. As you get older it may be worth thinking about the practicalities of having a bath and maybe plan a change to a wet room instead. There are also accessories such as grab bars that can be installed to help reduce the risk of a fall.

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Fire

In 2017/2018 there were 334 fatalities in the UK due to fire according fullfact.org. Most of these house fires result from the normal, everyday use of cooking equipment, appliances, open fires, or candles. There has also been an increase in tumble dryer fires that people need to be aware of. To prevent a fire in your home ensure your appliances have the right safety ratings and no dangerous exposed wires, always extinguish candles, and make sure you don’t leave the stove unattended when cooking. You need to also make sure you have the correct alarms in place with working batteries to ensure you have a warning should the worst happen.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Is an invisible killer, it can’t be seen, it can’t be smelt, and is very hard to detect, and it kills hundreds of people each year. It occurs when too much carbon monoxide gets into your blood which can result in tissue damage or death. Appliances that aren’t properly ventilated such as gas fires can release carbon monoxide which can then circulate through the home.  To prevent this happening to you, ensure appliances are properly ventilated and clean heat sources such as wood fires regularly. If you are unsure of the safety of your appliances get a professional in to check. Also get a carbon monoxide detector fitted near each source that could be a potential risk.

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It is vital you take time to do the checks in your home so it remains a safe environment to live in. Make sure you give you home a check at least every quarter to keep it as risk free as possible. Finally, top tip – have an organised system in place that reminds you to do your quarterly checks!

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Michelle Gaffaney
Michelle Gaffaney - Architectural Director
With a wealth of experience working on a range of projects, Michelle Gaffaney has a passion for design and strong relationships with her clients. Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn