October 7, 2015

Observances throughout September and October highlight critical home-safety issues that retailers can help customers avoid through strong product selection and education.

Many accidents that occur on job sites, at home or on the road can be prevented with better safety precautions. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2015, “In 2013, an estimated 93,200 unintentional-injury related deaths occurred in the home and community.”

Consumers can create safer environments by not only engaging in safer behaviors, but also adding additional protection around their homes, including protection to help prevent crime. We highlight key home-safety concerns, plus products you can offer to help customers avoid costly injuries to themselves and damage to their homes.

Fires

Did you know half of all U.S. fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.?

And yet, in a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) online questionnaire, 42 percent of respondents did not know that their bedroom should have a smoke alarm. That’s why the theme for this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.”

Universal Security Instruments offers a host of products, including a 4-in-1 Smoke + Fire + Carbon Monoxide + Natural Gas alarm to protect against multiple hazards in the home. And smart-home products, such as Nest Protect, are available to protect against smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning. Nest updated its product line this summer to include a split-spectrum censor to detect different fire types, as well as the ability to disable alarms via smartphone.

In addition to alerting customers to fires through smoke alarms, retailers can also provide additional protection measures for common fire hazards, such as chimneys, lint buildup and cooking.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, in 2012, 21,200 hostile fires were attributed to fireplaces, chimneys or chimney systems, and residential fire structures attributed to these home features killed 20 people and caused $93.6 million worth of damage. Chimney fires can be prevented by diminishing buildup with products such as HY-C Co.’s Creosote Control FireBrick, which features Douglas fir and western red cedar without waxes or oils.

Fire extinguishers are also handy to prevent fires from getting out of control. Shield Fire Protection offers a disposable single-use home and garage extinguisher that customers can easily store in critical areas around their home.

Natural Disasters

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared 45 major disasters last year for severe storms and flooding, earthquakes, snow storms, wildfires and more from Florida to Alaska.

Educating customers on how to prepare for these disasters is one way to minimize their effects on your community. Another way is to provide the essentials for a top-notch emergency preparedness kit.

At a minimum, hardware retailers should offer:

  • first-aid kits, like those from Lifeline First Aid;
  • scissors;
  • flashlights, including non-battery-operated ones, like Eton Corp.’s Blackout Buddy h3O;
  • batteries;
  • multipurpose tools;
  • masks;
  • work gloves, like those from Safety Works;
  • rain gear;
  • sanitation items;
  • perishable food (Industry Edge readers prefer Wise Co.’s Ultimate 72-Hour Emergency Kit);
  • water;
  • emergency blankets; and
  • battery-powered radios.

Specific products can also be helpful in protecting homes against damage and cleaning up after major events. For example, barriers can help prevent flooding from occurring in basements.

For more natural disaster information, see our product recommendations for tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as our list of hurricane preparedness guides to help inform customers on proper procedures and contacts.

Aging in Place

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 25,500 older adults died in 2013 from unintentional fall injuries. An additional 2.5 million nonfatal falls were treated emergency departments that same year.

As more Americans continue to reside in their homes longer, it becomes increasingly important for them to consider retrofitting their homes with aging-in-place design features.In addition to regular checkups and exercise, the CDC recommends that older Americans “[m]ake their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways, and improving the lighting in their homes.”

Tripping hazards can include rugs and differences in flooring height, such as transitions. These areas should be clearly distinguished with different-colored materials or lighting.

Grab bars allow homeowners to continue to use a private space such as the bathroom with little or no assistance. Yuyao Beilv Sanitary Ware Co. offers myriad grab bars to make bathrooms easier to maneuver, including angled and crossover versions to accommodate height and task variations.

Crime

Safety also extends to protecting the home from intruders.

According to the FBI, an estimated 8,632,512 property crime offenses occurred nationwide in 2013. Of those, larceny or theft accounted for 69.6 percent, burglary for 22.3 percent and motor vehicle theft for 8.1 percent, for a total loss of $16.6 billion.

Security systems can help alert consumers to potential dangers. A bonus: Many of today’s products are intertwined with smart-home systems to provide a more well-rounded home connection experience. Industry Edge reader favorite Insteon, for example, syncs with products from multiple partners, including HomeKit, Logitech and Toshiba. Consumers can use these products to not only receive alerts, but also control utilities, such as lights, to make it look like someone is home even when they’re away. Hydreon Corp. also offers a FakeTV product to produce the same effect.

Customers may also enjoy products that help reduce the opportunity for break-ins. Smart locks from providers such as August Smart Lock, Kwikset and Stick Sesame allow users to program codes or access for specific visitors instead of the “handy” under-the-mat trick. Even more secure: biometrics-linked products such as iTouchless Housewares & Products’ fingerprint door locks.

Other options include safes for valuables, like the Lock Alarm HandiSafe, or window and door locks, such as those provided by Modern Mimari Yapilar, which help keep burglars out but also make sure children stay in.

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