Cheryl Phelan - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Plymouth



Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 1/31/2018

Even though most people would consider family safety to be a top priority, few have gone to the trouble of actually printing out or creating a home safety checklist. It's really not that much trouble, though, because the information you need is readily available on the Internet, at your local library, and through your insurance agent. With so many different aspects of home safety to be aware of, a detailed, categorized list can help you focus your attention on what needs to be checked, cleaned, replaced, fixed, or upgraded. A Word About Landlines vs Cell Phones The widespread use of cellphones has caused an increasing number of home owners to cancel their landline telephone service. While this may seem like a smart way to save money and reduce telemarketing calls, it also raises some safety issues. In an emergency, for example, the last thing you want to be doing is frantically searching for a misplaced cellphone. Another issue to think about is the fact that mobile phones often need to be recharged on a daily basis -- sometimes at the most inopportune times. Although cellphones are an indispensable part of most people's lives, they're far from infallible. For this reason, maintaining your landline is an idea worth considering. Telephone companies may offer a budget-friendly service plan that could provide you with an emergency backup, in case your cell phones failed or couldn't be found. Organizing Your Safety Checklist There are a lot of different categories of home safety to keep in mind, so printing out a comprehensive list is an invaluable first step. Customizing the list to the needs of your household would logically come next. For example, a home with young children or elderly relatives will need age-specific safeguards to avoid accidents, injuries, and trips to the Emergency Room. Everyone's home safety checklist will vary, depending on the age of their home and its occupants. Here's a short list of some of the important items you'll want to include or seriously consider.

  • Install smoke detectors in strategic locations, and test the batteries several times a year (if not monthly). Your kitchen and bedroom areas are among the key spots in which smoke detectors need to be placed.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are also a vital part of any home safety plan.
  • A working fire extinguisher should be available in the kitchen, as well as any other room in your home where a potential fire hazard exists. It's also a good idea to take a couple minutes to read the instructions and give members of the family a crash course on correct fire extinguisher operation.
  • Reduce the chance of chimney fires by having your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned every couple of years. The frequency depends on several factors, including how often you use your fireplace and what type of wood you burn.
  • Miscellaneous home safety reminders: Other aspects of your plan may include burglar proofing your home, identifying and correcting potential electrical hazards, and reducing risks related to tripping, falling, and slipping.
Doing a home safety assessment is comparable to a New Year's resolution. You go into it with the best of intentions, but you don't always follow through. When it comes to keeping your home environment safe and secure for your family, however, it's never too soon to get started.





Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 12/20/2017

Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.

You arenít alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, weíre going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires. 

Cooking fire statistics 

Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.

In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.

Cooking safely

One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while youíre cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.

A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you donít necessarily need one for the cooking that youíre doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.

Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.

Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing arenít near any burners or open flames.

In case of fire

If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and donít re-enter the house under any circumstances.

For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.

Understanding cooking fires

Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.

However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.




Tags: home safety   kitchen   Cooking  
Categories: cooking   kitchen   Home Safety  


Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 4/1/2015

Protecting your home from burglars may seem like a no-brainer to some. Unfortunately for many homeowners, it takes an actual break-in for them to turn their attention to securing their homes against intruders. Here are a few preemptive steps that you can take in order to put your mind at ease. 1. Install a security system. Many modern homes come equipped with some form of security alarm. However, if you find yourself purchasing a home that doesn't already have a security system in place, you should consider your options for outfitting your home with one. There are many different types of security systems to choose from, and picking the most expensive plan doesn't always mean you are getting the most protection for your dollar. If you live in a rural area, for instance, focusing on a deterrent-based form of home security might better suit you than one that places police response as their most-prized feature. If it will take 15 minutes or more for a police officer to respond to your property, then you may need to consider a plan that places emphasis on loud alarms, or even a form of motion-sensor lighting to deter a break in. TopConsumerReviews.com has compiled an up-to-date list of some of the most comprehensive security plans on the market today. http://www.topconsumerreviews.com/home-security/ 2. Keep your doors and windows locked. Many break-ins don't actually require anything being "broken" in order for an intruder to gain access to your home. Keeping your windows and doors locked may seem like an obvious step, but you'd be surprised at the number of burglaries and home invasions that occur from homeowners ignoring this very practical safety measure. Also, if your home doesn't already come equipped with them, consider purchasing deadbolts for all of the exit doors in your home. Additionally, consider installing a peephole in your door if you don't already have one. Sometimes, all it takes is opening your door in response to a knock that can set off a home invasion. Never open your door to a stranger unless you are comfortable and secure in doing so. Don't feel foolish asking for credentials when opening your door to someone claiming to work for the water or gas company, either. Many times, a burglar can shut off certain things in your home from the outside to pave the way for knocking at your door, claiming to be there to help restore your services. 3. Alert a trusted neighbor when you go on vacation. Having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers will give your home the appearance of being occupied, and will take the attention away from the wandering eyes of a potential burglar. Also, if the neighbor sees suspicious activity, it will give you an extra line of defense in the event that your security system and safety measures happen to fail. 4. Leave an electronic appliance on that is visible through a window. Many burglars prefer to do their work in your home while you are away. Leaving a television on in a room, or a light on in a window visible from the outside will give them the impression that your house is currently occupied. Many former burglars have stated that they avoid break-ins where there is an obvious risk of coming into contact with the homeowner. 5. Keep track of your spare keys. Putting a spare key to your home under the mat isn't the smartest option, and is in fact one of the first places many burglars check in order to ensure they can get into your house quickly and quietly. Consider hiding your spare key under a rock, away from the front door. This will ensure a tougher hunt for the potential burglar. 6. Landscaping. Many people haven't considered landscaping being an enabler of home invasions, but many landscaping options we use for our privacy concerns can actually end up HELPING a potential burglar gain access to your home. Privacy bushes and fences outside your first-floor bathroom window might seem like a good idea at first, until you consider that you are also giving a potential burglar an easily concealed place to work on entry into your home. Consider more sensible options, like window tinting or decorative cling wraps instead. If you must have a privacy hedge, consider one that loses it's concealment capabilities when viewed from the front yard. This will ensure that your neighbor cannot see you get out of the shower, but would severely limit the amount of concealment a burglar could take advantage of. For more information on how to secure your home, as well as tips for protecting yourself against home invasions, please visit the following links. http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/home-security-tips.htm http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2010/burglary_is_probably_the_most_preventable_crime-az.asp http://www.crimedoctor.com/homeinvasion.htm





Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 12/3/2014

In the hustle and bustle of prepping a home to be sold, many people overlook one very important detail; home safety. And while you'd like to think that prospective buyers visiting your home are upstanding citizens, the simple truth remains that selling your home opens your door wide open to complete strangers...Strangers who are going to be encouraged as potential buyers to explore every detail of your home. Luckily, by taking a few small steps, you can rest a little easier. 1. Hide you valuables - This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to put away common valuables like jewelery, high-value collectables, expensive perfumes, and high-end designer accessories like handbags and money clips. Be sure to go from room to room, keeping an eye out for anything that may hold appeal for a potential thief, and tuck away anything you think might draw a thief's attention. Do a follow-up walk of your house the next day, just in case you may have missed something. 2. Firearms - If you are a homeowner who is also a gun and/or weapon owner, then you are probably already taking the necessary precautions in regard to gun safety. However, for some collectors, prominent display is one of the things that a gun owner may take pride in. Just because your guns are in a locked, secured display case doesn't mean that they still don't hold risk to you or your loves ones. In a private setting, a locked display case is just fine...But in a situation where you are selling your home, complete strangers will have the ability to see that you are a gun owner, how many guns you have, and the precise location of your collection. Considering the value of a gun collection can run into the thousands, they should be treated just like any other valuable in your home; locked away and out of sight. 3. Personal mail - Things like bill invoices, credit card statements, and social security information should be put out of sight. Identity theft is on the rise, and by taking the proper precautions, you can avoid your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. 4. - Prescription medication - Be sure to remove medications from your medicine cabinet that carry the potential for abuse. 5. Parental safety - If you are a parent, you'll obviously want to take precautions to keep your children safe. Remember...You are allowing complete strangers full access to your home. For peace of mind, consider removing family photos, personalized items such as prominently displayed school jerseys and embroidered pillows, and that A+ math test on the refrigerator. Many people feel this step is either unimportant or unnecessary. If you feel fine with displaying these items, then feel completely free to. †The odds of a person wanting to do your family harm are fairly low. †But if you are a "better safe than sorry" kind of person, then consider this step. As long as a few precautions are met, you have no reason to feel uneasy about your home being shown. The vast majority of the people who are going to be looking at your house are responsible members of society, looking for a home to either start or grow their own families. That being said....Better safe than sorry.