There are a number of steps you can take to help protect your family, home, and business from fire, theft, inclimate whether, and unfortunate accidents.

Fire Protection

One of the biggest threats to your family's security is a nighttime fire. Smoke acts as an anesthetic, putting you into a deep sleep rather than awakening you. Smoke detectors should be placed in hallways outside each sleeping area, and there should be at least one smoke detector on each level of your home. For added safety, place an additional smoke detector in each bedroom. Follow the manufacturers instructions for proper installation. If none are available, consider the following guidelines:

- Smoke detectors should be mounted high on the ceiling or wall at least four inches away from any corner where the   ceiling and wall meet.
- For high pitched or cathedral ceilings, mount smoke detectors approximately three feet from the highest point.
- Avoid placing smoke detectors in the path of air conditioning or heater vents.
- Never disconnect the battery.
- Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, near woodstoves and fireplaces, and one on each floor of your home. Read the label to make sure it is the proper type for the kind of fire that may occur (wood, gas, grease, etc.).

You should also perform maintenance on your smoke detector to help insure it is in good working condition. These simple steps include:
- Check the smoke detector at least once a week by pushing the test button.

- Clean periodically by removing the cover and dusting or vacuuming.

- Replace the battery at least once a year or when you hear a periodic beep or chirp. Do not disconnect the battery until you have a replacement.

Remember fire spreads fast. It can take less than five minutes for a small fire to spread and engulf the entire home. Your family should plan and practice an escape route so that if the unthinkable happens, everyone knows what to do and can make an immediate escape.

Increase Home Security

More than one million homes are broken into each year. You can dramatically improve home security by taking a few simple steps:
- Remember that burglars avoid lights and noise. Mount exterior lights out of reach in your yard and in your house. Keep landscaping away from windows. If you are going out for the evening, leave lights and the television on.
- Consider installing an alarm system. Install high security doors with top quality deadbolt locks. Also, add security locks to your windows.
- Check to see if valuable items in your home are visible from the street. If you can see them from the street, so can a burglar.
- Don't advertise that you are away. If you are on vacation, have the post office hold your mail, and ask your newspaper to suspend delivery. Ask friends or neighbors to pick up sales circulars or other items left in your yard that could tell a burglar that you are away. Keep cars in the driveway and use timers to turn lights on and off.

Protect Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is one of the biggest causes of accidental home poisonings. You cannot smell or taste CO, but as little as one part per 100,000 parts of air can cause headaches, dizzy spells, fatigue, and nausea. Higher concentrations can cause death in as little as 30 minutes.
Carbon Monoxide results from incomplete fuel combustion including oil, natural gas, gasoline, kerosene, propane, butane, wood, and coal. The gas is emitted by inefficient or faulty furnaces, space and water heaters, dryers, ranges, fireplaces, or wood stoves. With the improved construction of today's homes, CO gas can become trapped and lethal levels can build up.
The best defense against CO poisoning is a UL-listed CO detector. CO detectors look and sound like smoke detectors. Place one detector near sleeping areas and another one near your gas or oil furnace. Other steps you can take to reduce your risk of CO poisoning include:
- Have your furnace serviced annually.
- Crack a window when using a wood-burning fireplace, and have your chimney cleaned each season.
- Never run gasoline motors or use a barbecue grill inside your home.
- Have fuel-burning appliances installed by a professional.

If you suspect CO gas is in you home, have all family members, including pets, leave immediately. Call a heating contractor or local utility to inspect your furnace and gas appliances. If you use oil or propane, call your fuel supplier or heating contractor. Make sure you home is well ventilated before re-entering.

Safety On The Job

One of the most important responsibilities of an employer is to ensure that workers are adequately trained in safe work procedures and properly supervised when carrying out their duties. Make sure workers are not intimidated or confused by new equipment or procedures.

Ensure that everyone knows and follows proper procedures and don't allow workers to improvise their own techniques. Don't allow shortcuts, carelessness, or recklessness to occur which can effect safety.

Employers must work with supervisors to help foster positive employee attitudes toward safety, and to ensure that supervisors are carrying out all required training. It is the legal responsibility of the employer to ensure that every employee receives proper training.

Many factors including the type of work, noise, temperature, and the design of the workspace can influence the safety of the workplace. However, work injuries to the back occur nearly twice as often as any other injury, causing more than 100 million lost workdays annually. Training and educating employees on proper lifting techniques can prevent avoidable back injuries and reduce insurance claims:
- Think before you lift anything. If the load is too large or heavy, ask for help.
- Make sure you have firm footing. Place your feet a shoulders width apart, with one foot along-side the object.
- Bend your knees. Bend at your knees, not at your waist. This helps you keep your center of balance and lets the strong leg muscles do the lifting.
- Hug the load. Try to hold the object your are lifting as close to your body as possible as you gradually straighten your legs to a standing position.
- Keep your back upright and avoid twisting. Twisting can overload your spine and lead to serious injury. Make sure your feet, knees, and torso and pointing in the same direction when lifting.
- Make sure to use the same techniques when setting an object down.

© Franklin Insurance Group 2008