We assume our homes are safe, today and forever, but do we really know if this is true? We're so busy today, juggling family responsibilities, a job and social commitments, that we don't have much time to think about our homes. In effect, we take our homes for granted until something happens.
We spend more time at home than anywhere else. Home is where we sleep, eat meals with our family, bathe and dress and hopefully, there's also some time for relaxing with a good book, watching television, surfing the web and enjoying the company of family and friends. Can we, should we assume our homes are safe?
How Safe are Our Homes?
In the United States our homes are relatively safe as building codes have evolved to address known hazards. In California there are requirements to reinforce walls to withstand earthquakes while in Florida building codes focus on products and installation techniques that withstand hurrican force winds. When you view the devastating results of earthquakes in less developed countries, the visually scary piles of rubble that used to be homes, you realize our homes are far safer.
Many of the materials and construction techniques affecting our homes got their start in commercial construction. New regulations often affect new construction but in April 2010, the EPA's new Renovation, Repair and Painting (RPP) rules went into effect for even minor home maintenance and repairs.
In April 2012, the International Residential Code (IRC), the standard for most US based, residential construction will require fire suppression systems in all new 1 and 2 family homes and townhouses although many states are passing legislation to prohibit adoption at the local level.
This series on How Safe are Our Homes, will review home construction, remodeling and focus on home safety. The list will evolve and monthly we'll bring you a new article … so please let us know if there' are topics you'd like added to the list.
- Lead Paint Can Poison Your Children & You – Learn what you need to know to keep your loved ones safe from lead poisoning at home, and at child care facilities.
- Fire Safety at Home – Learn about home owner choices to prevent and control fires at home, from smoke detectors to sprinkler systems and more.
- Moisture, Mold and Why It Can Make You Sick – We'll explain how moisture supports the growth of mold and what you can do to prevent these problems.
- Senior Safety Tips – Homes can be built or modified to safely accomodate walkers, wheel chairs and other tips to keep seniors safe in your home.
- Hazardous Building Materials – The Consumer Protection Agency monitors toys imported from overseas. Now it appears with last years tainted sheetrock, the US will also need to monitor imported building materials.
- Building Codes, How They Affect Safety at Home – Most home improvements are mandated by adoption of evolving building codes. Learn about the International Residential Code (IRC) and safety requirements.
- Tips for Green and Safe Cleaning – Many traditional home cleaning products use chemicals which can be harmful so we know to keep them out of children's reach. Learn about safe cleaning alternatives.
- Green Furnishings for Healthy Air at Home – Often it's the furniture and other products we bring into our home that can make us sick, from the gases given off. Get shopping tips for safe product purchases.