Hopefully, the word “HOME” conjures up feelings of safety, warmth and security. A safe, secure home doesn’t just happen, it takes careful planning.
Let’s learn to identify and reduce hazard risks beginning with awareness of the top hazards and learn how to prevent them.
Often people are just too busy to think about how to prevent hazards or accidents. Or maybe they just don’t want to think about it at all. “It won’t happen to me” is, unfortunately, a common thought process. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Most mishaps at home can be easily prevented and the plans are fairly simple to put into practice, so let’s get started. Falls account for 40% of all non-fatal injuries that occur at home and 1 in 5 older adults who fall sustain a broken bone or head injury! If your house is more than one story, make sure the staircases are well-lit, clear of clutter and do not have any loose carpeting to trip over. Appropriate handrails are a must.
Add non-slip rubber mats in your bathroom to avoid slipping after your shower. Install handrails to assist your exit from the shower if your bathroom does not have them already. Seventy percent of seniors using a shower stall used unsafe supports such as a towel bar or glass door for support,
Keep the floors dry to prevent any slipping, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. Annually, 500,000 people fall from ladders and 130,000 of them require medical attention. If you plan to use a ladder for home projects make sure you follow the guidelines for your specific ladder to a tee and assess the risk involved. Installing roofs siding and gutters should probably be left to the pros. Generally, don’t stand higher that the third rung from the top, don’t lean or reach further than what is your natural reach and have someone support you from the bottom. Always make sure you set your ladder on level ground. Ladders are particularly dangerous as we age so get someone younger to do the risky tasks!
Carrying laundry baskets down a flight of stairs has proven to be another dangerous chore. If you find yourself a little unsteady at times, have someone else carry the laundry for you or better still, move the laundry upstairs to eliminate the risk.
Be wary of your little furry friends, as one could easily trip over them and fall. Put lights and light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent falls in the dark. Nightlights can serve the same purpose.
If you have young children or grand children at home, use safety gates to close off the staircases. Speaking of small children, lets list the recommendations for their safety around your home: Lock up hazardous or poisonous products. Post the poison-control hotline’s number (800-222-
1222) by every phone or have it stored in your cellphone.
Make sure all your vitamins and medicines have childproof caps and store them out of children’s reach. As an aside, my oldest daughter (as a child) fed my son 52 Flintstone vitamins with iron while hiding under the dining room table. It was a brand new bottle so I knew exactly how many he had. Hey, he was only 2 at the time and thought they tasted good! After a frantic call to the poison control hotline and a trip to the ER his stomach was pumped and he lived to tell the story. The outcome could have been significantly worse and proves a cautionary tale of how quickly unexpected things can happen.
Scissors, knives, matches and plastic bags should be kept out of children’s reach. This sounds like a no-brainer, but think about how easily a child could grab a kitchen knife in your home right now! Lock up any guns and make sure they are unloaded and separated from ammo. Teach your children how to dial 911. This simple action has saved many lives to date. If you have a pool, fence it in.
Never leave small children out of your sight for more than 5 minutes, for so many reasons. Eighty percent of all drownings occur in the bathtub to children under the age of 4. Drownings for all the other age groups generally happen elsewhere, such as swimming pools, lakes and the ocean. Never swim alone, but if you insist, let someone know of your whereabouts.
Electrical cords and outlets are 2 other sources of potential danger. Always check for frayed wires and replace or repair them on all electrical devices. No cords should run under rugs or across doorways. If the cord is covered, heat is unable to escape and could cause a fire. If it is placed across a doorway, it could present a trip hazard. These fires and accidents often happen during the holiday season when people are apt to have extension cords running everywhere! If you are currently using an extension cord permanently, you need to rethink that decision. Consider adding more electrical outlets where you are currently relying on extension cords. Extension cords are meant to be temporary, not a permanent fixture in your home.
Feel all outlets and plugs to see if any are warm, if so, have an electrician check them. Don’t overload any one outlet. Be certain you have no more than one high-wattage appliance plugged into a single outlet. Be sure to give your kitchen appliances space to breathe, don’t overcrowd them.
If you have small children in your home, place plastic safety covers over unused outlets. Lastly, we will discuss fire prevention, the ninth largest cause of injuries at home that end up with ER visits and account for 1/3 of accidental deaths at home.
Contrary to simple logic, open flames are not the main cause of fires and burns. Improperly wired electrical and hot water are often the culprit in serious home hazards. There are many simple things you can do to prevent most of the common reasons for home injuries from fire and burns.
1. Install smoke alarms on each floor of the house, covering all sleeping areas. (these should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years)
2. When cooking, try not to become distracted as cooking mishaps are the number one cause of fires and a fire is most likely to occur when the stove is left unattended.
3. Use the back burners of the stove so children can’t accidentally knock over the pot or grab something hot. (this includes your pets, as well)
4. Keep dryer exhausts free from flammable buildup or poor ventilation by cleaning them regularly. Clothes dryers do not look particularly dangerous but they account for 20,000 home fires and millions of dollars of damage each year.
5. Keep candles with open flames out of the reach of children and pets. If possible, opt for flameless candles.
6. Keep fire extinguishers in common areas for easy reach in an emergency.
7. Keep the water heater at a low temperature of 120 degrees so no one gets burned washing their hands.
8. Never leave your home with an appliance running. The exception? Crockpots. The food does not get hot enough or boil to cause a big fire concern. Who knew?
Awareness alone is not enough to keep your family safe, you must invest time and put forth some effort to make it happen. There’s a lot to be said about peace of mind and any effort you make to insure the safety of your family is certainly time well spent. Take care and be safe!
LET’S EAT OUT!
Dining in Hawaii during the Covid 19 pandemic is challenging at best. I am reluctant to go to most places for indoor dining regardless of how the tables are spaced, whether or not the place has a bar or how frequently the staff sanitizes tables. What I look for is fresh air or atmospheric dining, no pun intended. I have dined outside at Taormina and at Tango Café in Honolulu. Looking for a different venue the other night I found out the Michel’s at the Colony Surf had a free table with windowless view overlooking Waikiki beach. In additional to a fantastic sunset view I was able to indulge their phenomenal French cuisine. I had not been there for more than two years but had always enjoyed their food. Michel’s remodeled at the start of Covid and their social distancing was an extra insurance policy.
They have particularly extensive and well-curated wine list but they do have a $30 corkage fee. Service was friendly and professional, you are at ease throughout the formal dining experience. I started off with the lobster bisque that both tastes like lobster and has cognac flambéed Maine lobster to boot. I did not have their table prepared Caesar salad this time but if you are with one or two others try it for sure. I thought the Kusshi oysters from British Columbia were fresh and flavorful even though usually I prefer the briny oysters from the East Coast. My entree was roasted rack of lamb that was accompanied by minted demi glace sauce, potato au gratin, garlic green beans and baked tomato. I prefer medium cook for lamb and it was perfectly prepared tender, savory and not gamey at all. I passed on the desert but did have glasses of Neyers Carignan wine that was just the right pairing for the lamb. I am looking to go back and try the snails baked with herbed garlic butter and foie gras sautéed with pineapple. In fact, maybe I will just indulge on several appetizers!
Unfortunately for the restaurant, it was less than half full. This is likely a result of the increasing Covid 19 cases on Oahu. The entire menu is available at a 15% discount for take out so if you live any where close by, try that if you do not want to dine in!
Address: 2895 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hours: Every day 17:30-20:309, Take out hours 17:00-20:00
Menu: michelshawaii.com for special take out menu
Phone: (808) 923-6552
Parking: Valet parking or on Kalakaua
Covid Precautions: face covering, temperature checked, hand sanitizer at entry and social distancing.
WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS MONTH ON OAHU?
Few if any outdoor events involving organized activities for residents have been cleared to
proceed in August. As the number of cases suddenly began to rise in the past few weeks, the
State has reconsidered the pace of the planned reopening of events involving more than ten
people. However, people are out and about in malls, the parks, at the beach, in churches, gyms
and on the golf courses, as the pace has definitely ramped up.
It certainly feels more “normal” today than in prior months…
August 8th… The annual Slack Key Guitar Festival will be virtual this year. The event will be broadcasted live from 1-4 PM. You can watch at these links:
August 21st -23rd….The Made In Hawaii Festival, a major event each year for artists drawing tens of thousands at the Blaisdell Arena and Exhibition Hall, will go online. For more information, visit their website.. http://www.madeinhawaiifestival.com.
Cathy, Mary and Jeff