Tag Archives: Safety

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Four reasons to upgrade to a smart home

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Four reasons to upgrade to a smart home

Connected products, once a futuristic technology, are quickly becoming a reality in households across the country. In fact, 5.8 million Canadians regularly used a smart speaker in 2019 – a 51.2-per-cent increase from the previous year, according to eMarketer.

Smart home products are popular because incorporating them into your routine helps make life easier, safer and more cost-effective.

Here are the top four reasons to give your home a smart makeover:

Safety and security

Having the ability to monitor your home from wherever you are is one of the biggest benefits of a smart home. Devices that deliver notifications about everything from intruders to water leaks help homeowners respond quickly and avoid major disasters. For families with children, for example, smart locks can let you know when kids return home from school, while a connected doorbell system can help ensure their safety when the bell rings with mobile access to live video.

Convenience and customization

Smart products streamline common tasks by giving you remote access to everything from thermostats to kitchen appliances. With a simple tap, you can lock your doors or feed the dog, while home or away. You have the ability to program devices to your family’s specific needs and preferences and to customize your smart home system to fit your routine and lifestyle.

Ease and expansion

Many of today’s smart home products can be easily installed. One of the best places to start is with essential devices like a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, such as the Onelink by First Alert Safe & Sound. The three-in-one device functions as a smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a premium home speaker, and has Amazon Alexa built in. Unlike other smart alarms, it’s designed to work with many interconnected hardwired ones, allowing you to maintain your installed alarms. Thanks to an integrated adaptor plug, installation is easy, with no rewiring required.

The Onelink Safe & Sound makes life easier, from playing music with superior sound to offering hands-free commands with Alexa. At the same time, it protects what matters most, with first-rate smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detection to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Energy efficiency and cost savings

A major part of what makes “smart” devices smart is their ability to save money through improved energy efficiency. Lights can be programmed to turn off automatically and thermostats can be set to a lower temperature during the day while you’re away. You can even track energy usage and expenditures to determine ways to reduce consumption.

Any home can be made smart today. With entertainment, lifestyle and safety features that can enhance your daily routine and provide peace of mind, it’s time to join the smart home revolution.

For more information on the Onelink Safe & Sound and other home safety products from First Alert, visit firstalert.ca

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The visitable home, make your home accessible and inviting for the holiday season

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The visitable home, make your home accessible and inviting for the holiday season

Simple steps to make your home accessible and inviting for the holiday season

The holidays are a time that all generations gather together to celebrate the season. However, every home presents its challenges in ensuring that everyone who comes through the door is welcome for the holidays. The concept of visitable housing is an approach to home design that encourages adding a basic level of accessibility and safety for everyone who dwells or visits the home; think babies and young children, elders and the aging, or guests of any age who have mobility challenges.

According to Visitable Housing Canada, many universal design features can be incorporated into most homes at a reasonable cost. With the holiday season in mind, there are some easy solutions to make family and guests feel comfortable when visiting or staying in your home. Some of these changes are temporary, but none will deter from your home’s beauty.

Outdoors & entry

The great outdoors, especially in Ontario, can be one of the most challenging areas of your home to navigate for any guest. There are three basic things you can do or add to your home that will make a big difference.

  1. Firstly, keep sidewalks, pathways and porches clear of ice with calcium. It works just like salt, but will not damage the surface, and calcium chloride melts ice faster than other de-icers.
  2. Ensure pathways and entrances are devoid of any clutter or obstacles. For example, move larger planters or decor items clear of doorways.
  3. Third and most importantly, providing zero-clearance entry to your home will go a long way to allow ease of entry to all and to help avoid any accidents. Temporary ramps are available in all heights and colours to easily make your entryway accessible with little effort.

Bathrooms

Your bathrooms are the most utilized room for all your guests, and as discussed in my debut article in the bathroom issue of RENO & DECOR, the majority of household accidents also occur there. Safety though can also be stylish, especially with the products available in the market today. Here are some excellent and easy solutions to consider.

  1. . Replace towel bars with easy-to-install and trendy grab bars. These now come in many finishes to match your existing plumbing, as well as providing the right support and peace of mind for all. Install grab bars in both the tub or shower for extra support when entering and exiting the area. Don’t forget the toilet paper holder, there is even a great solution for you here. Professional installation is recommended for each.
  2. Consider moving to a touchless faucet to make everyone’s life easier. As a bonus, it helps keep your faucet hardware looking clean throughout your guest’s stay, as well as ensuring that faucets won’t inadvertently be left on. Similarly, touchless faucets are a nice addition to your kitchen as well.
  3. For overnight guests, there are additional options for your shower stall or bathtub. You can consider placing a non-slip surface chair in the stall or tub, as well as installing a hand-held faucet to your existing showerhead. Both items help provide a comfortable and safe experience for anyone needing extra security while bathing or if bathing small children.

“BY MAKING A FEW SMALL ADJUSTMENTS, YOU CAN MAKE SURE THAT YOUR HOME IS OPEN TO ALL OF YOUR VISITORS OVER THE HOLIDAYS.”

Stair rails & handrails

Interior or exterior railings are a safety necessity for all guests. Everyone relies on these railings to help them descend and ascend stairs and they also prevent any falling accidents. Make sure that all railings are secure and installed properly by professionals. This will ensure the safety of the people you love every day of the year.

Should you wish to consider updates, or to assist with any changes in the visitability of your home, ensure your design consultant or contractor are designated as Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) as they have the tools, knowledge, and expertise to design living spaces that allow for the safety and security in your home. We don’t have to sacrifice good design and your personal esthetic in order to make a home safe and accessible. By making a few small adjustments, you can make sure that your home is open to all of your visitors over the holidays.

Over the course of Yasmine’s 15-year career, she has developed, My Design Studio, the top independent decor centre servicing the residential construction industry in Southern Ontario. As a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) designer, Yasmine comes full circle on her passion for beautiful and sustainable design, by also adding design for living in place. my-designstudio.com

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A shocking video by the Electrical Safety Authority

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A shocking video by the Electrical Safety Authority

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The Electrical Safety Authority is trying to promote safety around powerlines, and created these graphic videos demonstrating why it’s so important to be aware of what’s overhead. There were more than 1,200 powerline contacts reported in the past decade, leading to 19 jobsite fatalities. Here are the ESA’s five tips for jobsite safety.

Five Tips to #RespectThePower at Work

  1. Look up, look out! Identify all powerlines on site and make sure people and equipment stay at least three metres away to prevent an incident. Electricity can jump to you or your equipment if you’re too close to a powerline.
  1. Drivers of dump trucks and other high-reach vehicles must get a signaller to ensure equipment doesn’t come within three metres of overhead powerlines. This is outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  1. Ensure that dump trucks on site drop their box after dumping the load. It’s good practice to have a raised box indicator installed in the truck to remind the driver the box is raised.
  1. Stay alert! Many incidents happen at the end of the day when workers are tired or rushing to finish a job.
  1. If wires fall down on the truck or the ground, always assume they are still energized. Stay in the vehicle, call 911 and keep everyone back at least 10 metres – the length of a school bus. Only the local utility worker on-site can confirm when the power is off and tell you when it’s safe to exit the vehicle.

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From the Archives: The Doh! Moment

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From the Archives: The Doh! Moment

Submitted by Allan McPherson, R.T. Warwick Construction, Perth, Ont.

Using safety equipment is important. But using it properly is even more important, as Allan McPherson almost found out the very hard way.

 Years ago, during an interior reno on an old two-storey farmhouse, the homeowner asked my boss to check for a leak around a chimney on the roof. I volunteered to climb the steep, slippery roof with a belt-type safety harness and a rope thrown over the peak to a secure anchoring spot. My boss assured me the rope was safe, as he had tied it to the bumper of his truck.

I was halfway to the peak when I heard the truck start. My boss had left the keys in the unlocked truck and the near-sighted homeowner, seeing it parked on his unmarked septic tank, proceeded to move it, not noticing the attached rope.

My fingers scratched open the belt buckle just in time to see the rope and belt disappear over the ridge. Funny now; not quite so funny then.

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Lesson Learned: Pack your own parachute! Whenever setting up to do some extra risky task with ladders, scaffolding, planking, or harness work, check out every aspect of it yourself.

While we don’t run the Doh! Moment contest any more, we do want to hear about your time-saving tips on the jobsite for our current, Work Smart, Not Hard column. Send your ideas to allan@renocontractor.ca and you could win a great prize from DeWalt, like this T-Stak radio and charger worth $299.

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You’re Getting Sleepy…

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You’re Getting Sleepy…

According to a survey by the Conference Board of Canada, nearly one-third of Canadian workers feel tired year-round. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they felt tired most days, or even every day, and nearly half of those (42 percent) admitted that fatigue impacted their productivity on the job. When you’re working with power tools, the risk of injury also increases.

The parents out there won’t be surprised to learn that twice as many people with children 18 or younger living with them reported chronic fatigue than those who don’t have kids at home.

While you can’t exactly advise your employees to not have kids, you can talk to them about sleep habits if you do notice them regularly nodding off, or putting themselves and colleague at risk.

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Reno Expert: Keep it Clean

Reno Expert: Keep it Clean

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Reno Expert: Keep it Clean

by Jim Caruk

Photography courtesy of Bin Solutions

A neat and tidy home is a safe home

They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. But on a renovation or construction jobsite, cleanliness is essential for avoiding accidents that can have you meeting your maker sooner than you’d like.

Cleanliness around the home is important too. If you have kids, it’s a safe bet that at some point or another, you’ve experienced the pain of stepping on a piece of Lego or something from a Barbie set with your bare foot. But that pain pales in comparison to the injuries that can occur when tripping hazards are left on stairways.

Encouraging the kids to clean up after themselves from a very early age not only helps you out, it sets them up with good habits to carry through life. Mind you, during the teenage years you’ll want to pick your battles….

Also, apparently, clutter can actually cause stress. If there’s too much visual stimulation in a room, your brain can’t calm down and focus on the important things. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small and chip away at the problem.

For example, rather than cluttering up the kichen counter with a pile of change, notepads, pens, keys, and the like, designate a “junk” drawer and buy some dividers so you can organize everything for easy access. There are entire stores dedicated to shelving, racks, and bins for organizing your clutter.


JIM’s PICK

Trash Talk

If you have garbage and recycling bins, odds are you have raccoon problems. But you don’t necessary want stinky garbage stored next to your patio cushions. There are a number of kits and customizable plans available to build a separate structure to accommodate the various sizes of city-supplied trash bins most of us use now.

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If you are tackling some DIY renovations, make sure you keep things orderly to avoid injuries. If you’re ripping out an old deck or fence, bang down any exposed nails so no one steps on them or jabs their hand. Neatly pile the trash in an area away from foot traffic until it can be safely disposed of. Cords and hoses are another jobsite hazard, so make sure they aren’t snaking around ready to trip someone.

In some cases, you may need to rent a temporary storage space to get stuff out of the way. Make sure you keep the emphasis on temporary. No one wants to star in an episode of Hoarders, or see people bidding on their junk in a forgotten storage locker.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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