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June is National Safety Month - Hands-on Home Safety!

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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June is Home Safety Month. This year's campaign theme is Hands on Home Safety. Nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average are reported each year. This campaign aims to have the public take some simple hands-on steps to create a safer environment at home. Some of the leading hazards are falls, fires, burns and poisonings. This is a good time to check your home for hazards and make it a safe place to live.

Some simple suggestions are:

*Keep stairs and pathways clear of clutter. Remove clutter from your home by putting everything in its place when you or a family member is finished with it.

*Keep all medicines, including vitamins, in their original, childproof containers. Discard all expired or no longer needed medications and prescriptions. Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department recommends the following when discarding unneeded or expired medications:

  • Don't flush medications down the toilet or drain, this includes septic systems as well as municipal wastewater systems.
  • Alter the medications in some way (e.g. mix with cat liter, coffee grounds, baking soda).
  • Remove all identifying information, close and secure the lid.
  • Dispose of the medication in the trash, preferably the day of pickup.

*Place throw rugs over a rug-liner or choose rugs with non-skid backs to reduce the chance of falling.

*Keep all household products in their original packages.

*Install child-safe locks.

*Promptly wipe up spills.

*Test the temperature of your hot water. Keep the temperature at 120 degrees F.

*Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach. Talk with children about the hazards of playing with fire. Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your family.

*Post emergency phone numbers where all family members can find them. Also, post the Poison Control Center number (1-800-222-1222) by the phone.

*Have a flashlight, battery operated radio and extra batteries where all families know where to find them.

*Check smoke alarms to make sure they are working.

*Install a carbon monoxide detector.

*Check around the outside of the home for hazards.

*Store gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, pesticides and other poisonous materials safely.

Discuss safety tips with your family – have everyone prepared for an emergency or disaster. Is your home safe for all ages? Take time, this month, to make your home safer by doing a safety check and make any necessary changes.


Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated June 2007 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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