Being an adult is all about taking responsibility, both for yourself and those close to you, and your first responsibility has to be safety.
The older you get the more important it becomes to protect those you care about, so it's important to think about possible dangers in your own home — no matter how unlikely they may seem.
Since it's Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (September 25th – October 1st), we wanted to raise awareness for household dangers and how to avoid them.
Whether you're trying to make yourself feel safer or gain greater peace of mind for your family and vulnerable friends, here are a few tips that will make a home a safer place.
1. Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer caused by oil, natural gas, LPG and solid fuel.
In small doses CO can cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting and nausea — in large doses, it can kill.
To avoid the dangers of the gas, have your appliances serviced annually by Registered Gas Installer, Registered Oil Technician or a qualified service agent for your fuel type.
Always keep vents, flues and chimneys clear.
For added security, add an audible carbon monoxide alarm to your home, so you can sleep easily knowing you have all your bases covered.
2. Install a burglar alarm system
According to Homesecure.ie, one in four Irish adults have been a victim of a burglary in the past, making it a crime so common that you really can't afford to ignore the possibility.
However, the majority of convicted burglars admit that they avoid homes that come with an alarm, making the installation of a security system a simple way to drastically reduce the risk of your home being broken into it.
If you do install an alarm, be sure that you don't just set it at night (as 40% of Irish people do), instead switching it on whenever your home is unoccupied. Remember, half of all burglaries take place between 5-11pm.
3. Get to know your neighbours
Yes, this will genuinely make your home a safer place.
Once you've established a relationship with the folks next door, they'll be more likely to help you protect your home when you're not there, not to mention that they'll recognise if someone hanging around the house is a stranger.
You can also ask them to do little things like remove junk mail from your front porch, which is a clear indicator to thieves that the occupants are away for an extended period.
4. Ditch the candles
They may seem romantic, but we guarantee they'll lose their appeal if they damage your home.
It's easy to forget about a burning candle when you leave the house or go to sleep, but should they get tipped over or left near combustible materials, these little decorations can become deadly.
Trade them in for the battery-powered versions: all the romance, none of the risk.
5. Fire extinguisher
If a small fire does break out in the home, it's important to know how to deal with it before it gets out of hand.
That why's you should get a fire extinguisher and place it in an easily accessible area of the kitchen, the room where a fire is most likely to occur.
Familiarise yourself with the instructions on the side of the canister so you can be ready to put out a fire at the drop of a hat.
6. Be vigilant with electricity
This may seem obvious to most, but since 26 Irish people have died from electrocutions in domestic situations between 1996 and 2016, mistakes are still being made.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of electrocution in your home: replace frayed wires immediately, unplug electrical items when not in use, don't overload sockets and keep electronics as far away from water as possible.
Take heed of all these tips and your home will be safer than it's ever been.