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Fire Safety: How to Protect Your Home During the Holiday Season

During the holidays, all too often in our rush to get everything done to make the season special we overlook some of the basic safety precautions necessary to make everything magical. Home fires is one of the leading causes of holiday disasters and these fires are more often than not, completely preventable. Rapid Refile, LLC, a document restoration and disaster recovery service, has put together a very helpful fire prevention guide for home owners to follow this holiday season to ensure a safe and disaster-free celebration.

The following is some of the recommendations they have compiled (see full article for references):

Christmas Tree Safety and Fire Prevention:

* Keep trees securely upright in a stand to ensure that it will not accidentally tip over or be knocked over by children or pets.

* Keep your tree away from any and all heat sources.

* Make sure natural trees are well watered.

* If you have purchased an artificial tree, please make sure it is labeled "fire retardant".

* Unplug the tree lights before leaving your home or before going to bed.

* Avoid using real candles on a tree. Real Christmas trees contain natural oils that are very flammable, especially if the tree is dry.

* Use a maximum of three strands of tree lights on a single extension cord.

Holiday Lighting Safety:

* Unplug any lighting, indoor and out, before going to bed.

* Never leave any candles unattended.

* Avoid using live candles with a flame on windowsills and mantles.

* Do not let pets or children chew on strands of lights.

* Make sure the cords used for lights and other decorations are not frayed.

* Do not run electrical wires under rugs.

* Make sure all candles are in sturdy holders that will not tip over and are placed away from furniture and other home accessories.

* Trim candle wicks to a ¼-inch in height.

Fireplace & Woodstove Fire Prevention:

* Have a professional inspect your fireplace annually.

* Inspect your stove or fireplace for any cracks regularly.

* Always use a screen in front of your fireplace while it is burning.

* Do not burn your Christmas tree, wreaths, or leftover wrapping paper in a fireplace or stove.

Additional Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Tips:

* Exercise caution if using a space heater in a bedroom. Never place a heater next to a bed, as blankets could ignite. Place the heater in a place where a sleepy person getting up in the middle of the night will not trip over it.

* Keep fire extinguishers handy on every level of your home in a place where they can be easily accessed. Keep an extinguisher in your kitchen and by any fireplaces or stoves.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and forget some of these basic and not so basic rules for keeping a home and your family safe from a potential fire hazard. Take the time to look over your family room, bedrooms and any other place where you may have a fireplace, heater or Christmas tree to ensure you have a fire disaster-free holiday season.


Uses For An Led Flashlight In Your Car

When you are navigating the roadways, it's important to remember that anything can happen to you and your vehicle at any time. Your vehicle could breakdown, you could get a flat tire, you could be in an accident or you may come across one. When any of these events happen to you, it helps if you are prepared. One of the ways that you can be prepared for any eventuality is to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. You can purchase them at a hardware or outdoors store - a compact emergency kit that fits nicely into your vehicle without being in the way. They usually contain candles, an emergency blanket, flares, road cones, waterproof matches, and a flashlight or emergency light source.

There are, of course, many uses for a flashlight or emergency light sources in your vehicle, especially if you are in a collision, have a flat tire, or if your vehicle breaks down. Where any light source will come in handy, most experts recommend having a LED flashlight or light source in your car because of they have a longer battery and bulb light than traditional flashlights, have a brighter, further-reaching light beam, and come in smaller, compact forms that are easier to carry in your car.

For a vehicle breakdown, a flashlight or emergency light source can help you:

* Flag down traffic for assistance

* Keep your vehicle visible if you have no working lights. You can use the flashlight to act as a taillight. This will allow oncoming traffic to see you and be able to get out of the way and avoid hitting you.

* Act as a flashing signal light - many of the emergency light sources have a flashing light on them as well that can act like hazard lights on your vehicle, once again alerting other drivers of your whereabouts.

* See what's wrong with your vehicle. If you have no power, you may be able to fix it yourself, but it's quite difficult to do on a dark road at night with no light. A flashlight or emergency light source can help you look into the problem with your vehicle and maybe even aid you in making the repairs.

* Help you fix a flat tire - while the flashlight won't be able to loosen those lug nuts for you, it can certainly shed some light on the situation. Also, because you will be crouching and sitting on the side of the road, other motorists may not see you. Having a flashlight or emergency light source will alert other drivers that you are also on the roadway and increase your safety while you are changing the tire.

In the event that you are in an accident, a flashlight can come in handy for many reasons. It can help to survey the damage of your vehicle or the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the collision. You can also use it to flag down other vehicles and warn them of your presence on the roadway. In some cases, you may also need to navigate uncertain terrain, such as a field, either to get to a collision scene to help, or escape from one. A flashlight can help light your path and avoid falling, tripping and other injuries that walking over uneven terrain could cause.

Flashlights and emergency light sources are very helpful for many reasons - and having one in your vehicle, that is reliable and works, is important. You never know when you're going to need a flashlight or emergency light source.

~Ben Anton, 2008


Cause of Slip-and-Fall Injuries

At some point in life, most people have tripped and fallen to the ground. Most slip-and-fall injuries are caused by a sudden or unexpected change in the walking surface. An accident can occur if we are not previously aware of a change in the surface making us unable to change our behavior to avoid the fall. When a fall is caused by the carelessness of another person, then the fall can be cause for a slip-and-fall claim.

'Slip-and-fall' is a term used for a personal injury case in which a person slips and falls and is injured due to the negligence of another person. These type of accidents fall under the broader legal term, 'personal premises liability.' 'Premises' means that the fall took place on someone else's property. The owner of the property may be held legally responsible for the accident. Properties can include a home, business, government facility, public property, town or city property,etc.

There are many situations that can result in a person falling. This can include poor lighting, wet floor, narrow or damaged stairs, a change in the surface of the floor, and torn carpeting. Hazardous conditions such as snow, ice, or rain on the ground, a pothole, cracked pavement, and damaged stairs or escalators, can result in a slip and fall incident.

When walking in a public place or on another person's property, we have the right to be informed about any hazards that may likely cause us harm. If we are aware of a dangerous situation, and choose to proceed, we assume some risk. If we are not informed of a hazardous situation, and we are in an accident, the owner may be held liable for the accident.

When determining whether a business or property owner knew of a hazardous condition, the following must be proved:

- The owner was responsible for creating the dangerous situation
- The owner was fully aware of the hazardous situation and failed to remove, repair, or properly inform people about the hazard
- The hazardous situation existed for a long enough time that the owner should have become aware of the situation and took the necessary steps to correct it.

There is no accurate way to determine slip and fall negligence. Generally, for a person to be held liable for another's slip and fall accident, it must be shown that the owner was careless in preventing a trip and fall condition and the victim had no way knowing about the hazard so they could not take the necessary steps to avoid the accident. A dangerous condition must present an unreasonable risk to a person on the property. For example, if a person falls because they were not looking where they were walking, the owner may not be at fault even if a serious injury occurs.
Slip-and-fall claims can be quite complicated. They can involve giving depositions, filing the appropriate paperwork, enlisting expert witnesses, and using the services of professionals who reconstruct slip-and-fall accidents. A personal injury attorney will be able to determine whether or not you have a personal injury claim. An attorney who has experience with slip-and-fall claims will know how to handle all of the details involved with proving a claim.

It is important to be aware of your environment when you are out and about. Unfortunately, there are situations where you may not be aware of the dangers. This can result in a slip and fall accident. If you suffer an injury from a slip and fall, seek medical attention immediately. If you feel someone else is responsible for the accident, consult with a personal injury lawyer.


What to do if you have Industrial Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a skin infection that usually appears in the hand and then slowly spreads to the body if proper care is not taken. "Industrial dermatitis" is the name given to an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with chemicals or substances in the workplace. The types of jobs that can lead to a claim for industrial dermatitis as an industrial injury include, for example, florists, hair dressers and construction workers.

Basically, there are two types of dermatitis. These are-

Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by being exposed to a substance to which you have become hypersensitive or allergic. This type of dermatitis develops in stages. Once the skin is penetrated by the allergen, sensitisation will begin. At first there may be no sign of skin damage but, with repeated or prolonged exposure, symptoms will appear. Common allergens include nickel or other metals, latex, rubber and fragrances.

Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by the exposure to substances such as acids, alkalis, soaps, cement, cleansing agents, detergents, and solvents. These damage the skin causing redness and inflammation. Damaged skin may itch, crack and bleed. The condition can spread further all over the body if untreated, and if exposure continues. However, with preventative steps, the skin condition will usually settle.

Typically the condition is treated with steroidal creams and the use of soap substitutes or aqueous creams. Further protection against subsequent attacks of dermatitis can be achieved by wearing adequate protective equipment when in contact with potentially harmful substances.

Employers in the UK are required, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to protect their workers from any risk or injury that is reasonably foreseeable. Further regulations state that this legal duty of care extends to assessing risks that have the potential to cause Industrial Dermatitis and once a risk has been identified, employers must do their best to eliminate or minimise that risk. This could mean an employer using an alternative substance for cleaning, or providing adequate protection for their employees if continued use of the hazardous substance is necessary.

Compensation claims for industrial dermatitis are awarded to reflect the nature and severity of the illness you have. The courts will award money for the pain and suffering the illness has caused you and your claim for compensation will be based on this for all industrial diseases.

It is important to report your condition to your employer and seek medical advice immediately. If you suffer from any of the symptoms of occupational dermatitis, you should not hesitate to contact a team of specialist industrial disease solicitors. For more details kindly visit- http://www.jspsolicitors.co.uk/industrial_dermatitis#BodyHash


General Do It Yourself Safety

The home can be a highly dangerous area so every one doing diy needs to take some precaution and, more importantly, use common sense. The following are some basic principles for the do it yourself person.

Always keep safely in mind before you do any diy activity, use caution, care, and good judgement - if in doubt, don't.

Always read the labels on cans containing paints, solvents, and other products; and always follow the guidelines and any other warnings.

Always read the manufacturer's instructions (especially the warnings) before using any tool, especially power tools with cutting blades/bits.

Always pay deliberate attention to how a tool works, if you understand it's operation, you are less likely to cause injury.

Always know and accept the limitations of your tools - use the appropriate tool for the task. Do not try to use a tool for anything it is not designed to do.

Always remove the key from any drill chuck (hand or stand mounted) after you have removed/fitted a drill bit. Do not leave the key in the chuck even when the drill is switched off.

Always wear the appropriate protection for the job in hand. This may involve gloves, facemasks (to filter dust etc.) and/or eye protection.

Always keep your body (especially hands) away from the business ends of power tools using blades, cutters, and bits.

Always make sure that any tool adjustment is secured before using the tool - it is always better to double check an adjustment - e.g., always check the fence on a saw bench - this will avoid possible injury and scraped material.

Always be sure that the electrical supply is safe before using it; do not overload any circuit. Make sure all power tools, extension cables and electrical outlets are serviceable and undamaged. Do not use power tools in wet conditions.

Always check for possible cables/pipe work before drilling or cutting 'blind' into any wall or other surface. Take care when you cannot see the reverse side of what you are drilling or cutting.

Always use special care when using a saw bench; older benches may not have the latest safest features (blade guard, safety cut-out etc.). Avoid sawing short pieces if you can, as these can be hard to keep a firm grip of.

Always clamp small work pieces firmly to a bench or other work surface when using a power tool on them.

Always remember that things can go wrong very quickly and the body's reaction will not always be quick enough.

Always use both hands where a tool is designed to be used two handed.

Always ensure that the work area is adequately lit.

Always check your local building regulations before carrying out any new construction or major remodelling. The regulations are intended to avoid safety hazards and should be observed - they should not be considered obstructions to be circumvented.

Always check ladders and steps before use, make sure the rungs and sides are undamaged.

Always check the security of a ladder or set of steps before you start to climb.

Always be aware and alert!


Never wear loose clothing, hanging hair or jewellery when using power tools.

Never try to use a tool (especially a power tool) for any task it was not designed to do.

Never work with power tools when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are tired. If in doubt - don't. Any of these factors can impair judgement of your ability, your physical state and general safety aspects - if always better to delay a job than risk serious injury.

Never use a power tool which is damaged in any way (case, switch or cable etc.). If it starts to make an odd noise or emit smells - stop and investigate.

Never cut small, loose pieces of wood, metal or other material using a power tool - small off-cuts which you cannot hold or secure, will tend to fly off with potential for injury.

Never change a drill bit, router cutter or saw blade or make any adjustment to a cutting power tool - until the power cable has been unplugged. Do not rely only upon the switch on the tool or outlet.

Never use power tools if you are at risk of overbalancing, reposition any ladder, scaffold etc. to make the job comfortable.

Never work with blunt tools (saws, drill bits, cutters etc.). Sharpen the tools yourself, have them sharpened, or throw them away and use a new tool.

Never use a power tool on a work piece which is not firmly secured.

Never drill or cut 'blind' into a surface before checking the possible location of electrical cables or pipe work.

Never saw a large work piece unless it is well supported both sides of the cut or there is someone else to support the off-cut.

Never saw a work piece supported on any part of your body (or anyone else's body!).

Never carry sharp tools in your pocket. If you want to carry such tools, use a special- purpose tool belt.

Never overreach when working on a ladder or steps, always get someone to re-position the ladder at the bottom whilst you are not on it.


Using A Home Fire Safety Code For Fire Prevention

Most individuals have learned a fire safety drill at some time during their lives. Kids learn it in school and adults learn it at work, yet how many individuals put it into practice it at home? If it is worth practicing a fire safety code at work, it must be worth implementing one at home as well.

You could adapt and adopt the fire safety code from school for your home use, and just like in school, you will have to make sure that everybody in your household knows and knows your fire safety code. Adopting a home fire safety code will hugely increase your family's likelihood of surviving a home fire.

The specialists at the fire station are called Fire Prevention Officers. Fire prevention officers frequently give talks on fire prevention techniques at schools, work places and seminars. It is also frequently possible to have a one-on-one interview with a fire prevention officer and they will also visit you in your home for more specific advice in some areas.

The chief fire prevention officer has to train new recruits and schedule public buildings for check ups depending on their location, age and usage. You could use the same criteria to assess the risks in your own home.

For example, older houses tend to have more timber in them and smaller windows which means that it might catch fire more easily, it might burn faster and it may be more difficult to escape from because of the smaller windows, which might even be jammed.

Only to give you an concept of what a building's fire code can be like, I will give some instances below. You can apply some of these concepts to the 'fire code' for your home, depending on what type of building you occupy.

Firstly, buildings in many countries have maximum occupancy numbers for each residential building, especially for commercially rented buildings. You may not just keep partitioning rooms in order to cram in more occupants (and get more rent). This maximum is a strict law and must be adhered to.

If you live in or rent out a commercial property, then all exits ought to be clearly marked with lit signs which can be seen through smoke. They also have to have a battery back-up in case the cables are burned through. These buildings also have to have a particular number of fire extinguishers and there may even have to be several different sorts, eg: water hoses, sand buckets, fire blankets and regular extinguishers.

There also have to be smoke detectors and a building-wide fire alarm system. Ensure that flammable supplies are stored in a safe location and that fire drills are carried out regularly. Everybody must know their muster spot and which doors should be closed and which ones left open.

Many of the suggestions above are true laws for commercial and some residential buildings, so if you do not want to fall foul of the law, be sure you know your obligations.


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