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Make your home a safe haven for family

Home is the one place that we feel protected. But are we?

According to the National Safety Council more than 7 million Americans suffered disabling injuries and another 26,700 died as the result of injuries suffered at home in 1995. Here is a checklist of safety items that the National Safety Council and Lowe's Home Safety Council compiled. Does your home have:1. Smoke detectors. Most home fire deaths happen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Many deaths are caused by smoke and toxic gases, not the fire itself. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. For extra protection, consider installing a smoke detector in every bedroom. Be sure to test batteries and never remove the batteries from a smoke detector except to replace them.

2. Carbon monoxide detector. Because CO is odorless, colorless and tasteless, it often goes undetected. Carbon monoxide is a normal byproduct of combustion. There-fore, any fuel-burning appliance in a home is a potential CO source. Every home should have at least one CO detector placed in an area near sleeping rooms. It should have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL2034) label.

3. Fire extinguishers. A multipurpose dry chemical Class ABC fire extinguisher is the best choice for general home use. All occupants of the home must know when and how to use the extinguisher properly.

4. Emergency evacuation plan. Make your plan now. Have at least two exits from every room and include all occupants of the home in practicing the plan.

5. Flashlights. Make sure the batteries are functional or use flashlights with built-in, rechargeable batteries. Keep the flashlights readily accessible.

6. First aid kit. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit. Make sure everyone knows where to find it and how to use the items in it.

7. First aid book. Obtain the National Safety Council First Aid Handbook from a local bookstore. This book provides information needed to help an injured or suddenly ill person.

8. List of emergency phone numbers. Post the 911 or other local emergency number, doctors and poison control center numbers at every telephone in the home. In the event of an emergency, time is of the essence and even a very young child can phone for help if the number is available.

9. Tagged shutoffs. Place tags on your home shutoff valves for gas, water and the main shutoff for your electrical supply.

10. Survival kit. Every home is vulnerable to acts of nature. To prepare for an unexpected disaster such as a power outage, severe wind storm, or earthquake, keep a survival kit available. Your kit should include such items as a battery-operated radio and flashlight, clothing and bedding, containers of water, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.