Awareness and First Aid

Falls and electric shocks are common causes of domestic accidents. Ensure your family is safe at home with expert help from ER24.

Preventing falls in your home

Tripping over toys, slipping on wet tiles, and losing your footing on staircases are common reasons for falling. Most times, this will result in nothing more than a minor bump or a bruised ego, but it’s particularly important to safeguard your home against fall hazards when you have older people and children around. “Simple adjustments to your home environment can go a long way towards reducing your risk,” says Andrew Coutts, an Ambulance Emergency Assistant at ER24’s Southern Cape branch.

Secure flooring: Place slip-resistant underfelt or matting under your rugs and carpets to prevent them from sliding when walked on. Use non-slip mats and tiling in your bathroom and kitchen. Teach your kids not to walk in socks in slippery places – especially when going downstairs.

Stair safety: Internal and external staircases must be well lit and have secure hand railings—Install height-appropriate safety barriers for pets and small children.

Clutter-free spaces: Have you ever felt the pain of standing barefoot on a piece of Lego or stumbled over an item someone has left lying around? To prevent this type of incident, keep driveways, passages, and living spaces free of toys, sports equipment, and other clutter.

Preventing electric shocks in your home

“Electrical shocks pose a severe threat to you and your family’s safety,” Coutts warns.

“Although common household electricity may only cause pain or a spark when you touch it briefly, prolonged contact with an electrical point can cause severe burns, muscle damage, fractures and heart rhythm disturbance.” Being careful can greatly decrease the chances of electrical accidents in your home.

Appliances: Only qualified electricians should attend to electrical wiring and appliance repairs. Inspect your appliances regularly, making sure power cords are not cracked or frayed. If an appliance sparks or smokes when switched on, replace it immediately.

Childproof outlets: If you have young children, use outlet covers to childproof plug sockets when not in use. Keep cords out of reach and use cord organisers to prevent tripping hazards.

Outdoors: When using outdoor electrical equipment, such as lawnmowers and power tools, ensure the extension cords are rated for outdoor use. Always keep them away from water sources.

Overall home safety

Beyond falls and electrical shocks, Coutts suggests these general safety measures:

Emergency numbers: Every member of your household should know to call ER24 on 084 124 for real help, real fast in a medical emergency. The numbers of other emergency services, such as fire department and police, should also be on hand.

Fire safety:  Keep fire extinguishers in easily accessible places and teach everyone in the household to use them. Gas stoves and other gas equipment should only be installed by licensed professionals.

Secure furniture: Ensure wall-mounted televisions are securely anchored to prevent them from tipping over, especially if you have young children or big pets.

First aid kit: Assemble a well-stocked first aid kit and make sure everyone knows where to find it.