How to stay safe around the yard - HMS National, Inc.

How to stay safe around the yard

August 6, 2014

High temperatures and nice weather should push you outdoors, but your yard could be filled with potential dangers. Don't let a backyard barbecue or outdoor get-together turn into a potential mishap. There are plenty of proactive things homeowners can do to make their yards accident-proof.

Many people think they're invincible until an accident happens. According to the statistics, there are several outdoor devices and activities linked to thousands of injuries every year. From leisure activities to yard work, many pursuits can cause trouble in the yard. To prevent a trip to the emergency room, follow some of these helpful outdoor tips.

Maintain your deck
According to Consumer Reports, 40 million outdoor decks in the U.S. are over 20 years old and cause an average of 45,000 injuries annually. Weak supports, insecure railings and rotting boards with protruding nails can cause a flurry of injuries. Check over your deck frequently or call in a specialist if necessary. If your deck is on the older side, make sure to get it checked before hosting large gatherings.

Consider lighting your pathway
For homes with stairs leading up to the patio or front door, navigating in the dark can be tricky for residents and trickier for guests. A few low intensity lights can dramatically reduce stumbles and falls. 

Guard the grill and protect the fire pit
Avoid placing the grill near combustible items like siding or awnings. According to Consumer Reports, 8,600 home fires are caused by outdoor fires every year. That includes fires started by grills or fire pits. Make sure to maintain all of your grill equipment and do not leave the grill unattended while it's in use. Likewise, a fire should always be supervised, especially if there are children in the yard. Never construct a fire pit near the house or under low-hanging branches. Wind can carry flames towards combustible materials. It's better to keep a fire pit in a wide open area far away from sheds, trees or your house.

Keep pool and play time safe
Always watch children when they're playing on playground equipment or swimming in the pool. Almost 5,000 pool-related injuries are recorded every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children and others can slip and fall around the pool area or hurt themselves by diving or jumping into a pool improperly. Keeping an eye out for poolside dangers is key.

At the same time, make sure play equipment is sturdy and safe and that the ground nearby doesn't contain any rocks in case children fall. Again, close supervision is a critical part of making playtime safe. Around 100,000 people are injured on trampolines alone every year, according to The Travelers Indemnity Company.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.