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A new season means new safety strategies

Fall is the season of change. The leaves turn colors, the temperature cools off, long sleeves come out of the drawer, plaid flannels come back into style—we even fall back an hour for Daylight Savings Time.

What should not change is safety around the house. There are, however, specific things that homeowners need to be more aware of once the leaves start to change color.

Love to Know-Safety has come up with many safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

Always practice safety when using a fireplace
The fireplace is what adds that cozy element on chilly autumn nights and adds a sense of security to the home. Make sure to always keep the fireplace screen closed to prevent sparks from flying out and always double-check that the fire is completely out before turning in for the night.

Keep your furnace properly serviced. Something that a lot of people don't think of is making sure their furnace is checked by a professional every year before the cold strikes. A 2016 study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association found that roughly 14,000 fires per year are related to heating equipment. If a furnace vent is blocked, carbon monoxide can leak into the home which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms have been described as "flu-like" and make you pass out and even cause death.

Be careful with space heaters. Always read the directions and make sure to never have anything within a three-foot radius of the device. According to the NFPA, space heaters cause one-third of all house fires and are responsible for 80 percent of all fire-related deaths in the winter.

Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. This might sound crazy but people do it and it's extremely dangerous. The heating elements in an oven are designed to heat that specific small area and nothing else. If it is left open while on, even a crack, there is a risk of carbon monoxide leaking into the house.

Be careful with your fall-scented candles. These help spice up the fall aroma of any room in a home, but according to the National Candle Association, candles are responsible for 10,000 fires a year. Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to sleep. A candle is not fully out until the wick is no longer glowing. Keep them away from things that may catch fire such as furniture, drapes, carpets, bedding, books—the list goes on.

Change your smoke alarm batteries. The recommended practice for changing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is every Daylight Savings Time. Homeowners often overlook switching these batteries and it is crucial to safety in the home.

Be careful when driving. Always use your dimmers when driving in the dense fog and bad weather. Watch out for children—they love jumping and playing in piles of leaves so always be wary of large clumps of foliage in the street.

Always exercise proper caution when working outside. Whether putting up fall and Halloween decorations or cleaning up your yard, be safe and smart. Always use proper footwear (sneakers or boots) when on a ladder and make sure someone is always there to hold it for you. Be sure to keep the driveway and sidewalk clear of all leaves. Wet leaves are a common slipping hazard.

These safety tips will help you to have a fun and memorable fall season this year and for many years to come. You can continue to enjoy the scents, the colors, the decorations and the people while practicing safety at the same time. Without safety, we cannot enjoy life's simple pleasures.



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Tuesday, 19 February 2019