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Survey: Many Americans Not Taking Enough Safety Precautions Around Their Homes


ORLANDO, FL, September 20, 2005 — Many Americans are not taking proper safety precautions in their homes, leaving them susceptible to severe injuries or illnesses, according to a recent survey. Of the more than 100,000 people who died from preventable injuries recently, 97 percent were non-work related, according to the National Safety Council.

The survey, which was conducted by TNS of New York and sponsored by DuPont in conjunction with the start of this week’s World Congress on Safety and Health at Work being held here, revealed that nearly half (46 percent) of U.S. families do not have an evacuation or contingency plan in case of a fire or emergency. Of those that do have an emergency plan, nearly one-third (31.4 percent) have not practiced or discussed it with their families in more than a year.

Thirty percent of the families surveyed do not have a fire extinguisher in their home. The survey also showed that 43.9 percent change their smoke detector batteries only once a year. A troubling 14 percent have never changed the batteries. The National Safety Council recommends that smoke detectors be tested monthly and that batteries be changed twice a year.

“More accidents happen around homes than anywhere else,” said Ellen J. Kullman, group vice president – DuPont Safety & Protection, who will deliver the World Congress’ closing keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 22. “For years, we have encouraged our employees and partners to create the same safety culture at home that we advocate at work. It’s not enough to be safe just at work – safety is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The survey was released today in conjunction with the commencement of the 17th World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, an international forum devoted to improving workplace safety including extending effective work-related safety practices into homes. The World Congress, which is held every three years, draws together several thousand key leaders and influencers of workplace safety policy from government, labor and industry to present and discuss emerging safety research, trends, best practices and innovations. DuPont is considered one of the safest industrial companies in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s latest available statistics, DuPont has a workplace safety record that is 11 times better than the U.S. industry average.

With millions of Americans using power tools and chemicals during home improvement projects, safety should be a top priority, according to safety experts. Yet, 54 percent of survey respondents said they only “sometimes” followed safety precautions such as wearing gloves or goggles.

The survey also showed that Americans are at risk for food borne illnesses or allergies. Nineteen percent of respondents said they “sometimes” wash their hands after using the bathroom, leaving members of the household susceptible to germs that cause influenza and hepatitis. Only 26 percent said they changed their air filters four or more times a year. The American Lung Association recommends changing or cleaning air filters at the start of each season, reducing exposure to allergens and infectious bacteria.

Other survey findings revealed that:

* 50 percent of families do not have non-slip mats in their bathtub or shower. According to the National Safety Council, 70 percent of home accidents occur in the bathroom. Many of these accidents are due to slips and falls from wet surfaces such as tile floors, tubs, showers and other fixtures.
* 45 percent said they did not have a household member trained in first aid.
* 28 percent did not have a first aid kit in their home.
* 58 percent did not have fire resistant sleep products, such as a mattress or blanket.

To help ensure home safety 24/7, DuPont offers these tips:

* Install smoke detectors on every floor of your house. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), two-thirds of fatal residential fires occur in homes that did not have smoke detectors.
* Form an evacuation plan with your family in case of a fire or disaster.
* Keep an accessible fire extinguisher in your home.
* Keep a first aid kit in your home and car. Also, learn CPR and other first aid techniques from your local Red Cross.
* Change the filters in your air conditioner and heater quarterly. This will reduce the allergens and dust in your home.
* In the bathroom, keep medicine cabinets locked. Also, install non-slip mats in the shower and under rugs.
* Make sure all stairs in your home have sturdy railings.

DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.


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