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Handy Hints and useful tips for Safety and Health around the home

Night Lights
LED lights

  These LED lights have a range of uses such as illuminating dark areas like cupboards; but they are really handy when the power goes off at night. Left in convenient spots near exits or walkways, they provide instant light with a simple push of the lens. They are small enough to carry around (while searching for the candles, maybe); and most have self-adhesive pads on the back so that they can be stuck on walls and cabinets. We have one on the outside door frame so that, if we return home after dark we don't have to stab around blindly with the key trying to find the lock. Available from hardware stores and some supermarkets, they generally come in multi-packs and are pretty cheap.
  A word of warning though - young children might view them as toys, but harmless they are NOT. The light is extremely bright and could damage eyesight if held too close; and the case is easily removed to access the batteries. So please make sure they are out of the kids' reach.

Put "ICE" on your mobile phone
  There may come a time when you have an accident and are unable to communicate with whoever has found you. A simple, Internationally recognised word on your mobile phone could save your life and inform others of your predicament.
  Enter "ICE" in your phonebook, adding details of a person you wish to be contacted in case of emergency. Include their phone number, name and their relationship to you. If you wish to include more than one emergency contact, list them as: ICE1, ICE2, ICE3, and so on.
  Part of the standard procedure for Emergency Personnel is to check your phone for this vital information.

In Case of Emergency
  Everyone should be prepared for a worst-case scenario when storms, bushfires, floods and other disasters strike without notice.
  Try to keep your necessary items together - driver's licence, house and car keys, credit cards, mobile phone, some cash and a small amount of regular medication. Stored in a small carry-bag, they can be wherever you are, even when you go to bed. If you have to evacuate in a rush, just grab the bag and go.
  And don't forget a small flashlight to find your way through smoke, or at night when the power goes out.
  For more detailed information, click on the Focus16 article. Please do - it could save your life and that of your family.

Smoke detectors
  All homes should have them. The trouble is, once they are fitted, they tend to be forgotten. They really do need checking regularly and, if they are the battery-operated type, the batteries should be changed annually.
  Those that are wired into the home electrical circuit would seem to be the better option, but they still need checking. We had a disturbing incident when the entire house was engulfed in smoke. Despite the fact that the indicator lights of the wired-in detectors were glowing reassuringly green, they were as silent as the grave!
  To check your detectors, don't just prod the test-button with the end of a broom handle! Get up there on a chair or a ladder with some paper tightly folded into a taper and moistened with water in the middle - then set light to the end and hold it under the detector (not so close that you melt the case!). It may take a few seconds for the smoke to filter into the vents, but it should eventually give off that ear-piercing beep. If it doesn't, complain loudly to whomsoever you bought it from, or chuck it out and replace it with one that works.
  The lives of you and your family may depend on it.

Charcoal - the carbon collector
  This basic element has been around since the first tree caught light and is highly absorbent of both liquid and gas. Introduced to potting mixes, it helps sweeten the soil and retain moisture, especially the liquid-fertiliser kind. It is also a pretty good fuel for the barbecue. Needless to say, you can also write and draw pictures with it. Charcoal is, in fact, one of those versatile, quiet achievers that can make life comfortable just by being there.
  An open container filled with pieces of it and placed on a shelf in the fridge will help reduce strong smells. And, believe it or not, you can actually eat it! A sudden bout of food-poisoning, especially if it comes on miles from nowhere - while camping, for example - can be eased temporarily by ingesting charcoal. It's a bit gritty, but it will absorb the stomach gases and help relieve the discomfort until proper medical treatment can be sought. Plus, being an inert substance, it won't do any harm.

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