Monday, November 28, 2016

"Security Means More Than Just Protection From Intruders"

If we were to ask people to define home security, they likely would say something about being safe from attack or intruders. That is a good definition, but it is incomplete. While wanting to prevent intruders entering our homes, we also want to prevent foreign objects of any kind from entering our living space (tree limbs, thrown items, out-of-control cars, falling cosmic debris, or hit balls).

No one wants to be awakened or come home to see a broken tree branch sticking through their roof or the side of the home. No one wants to find a hole in their roof left there by something falling through it. No one wants or expects to find broken glass strewn about that was shattered by something unexpectedly going through it.

Certainly no one wants a water heater or water pipe to burst and flood their living space - or a drain to backup or overflow. We don't want fires or noxious fumes invading or damaging our space. We don't want mold as the intruder.

There are plenty of hazards - some we can reasonably guard against and others attack us without notice. All of these potential events challenge our feeling of being secure in our living space.

That leads to the related issue of feeling safe. When we believe that we are secure in our homes - when we don't dwell on it or give it a lot of thought because we don't feel any immediate threat or danger - we feel safe. 

We've talked before about the issues of safety in the kitchen - partly because there is just so much going on there. Consider just with food preparation that there are sharp knives that can injure us as we use them or even just jab our finger or hand on them when handling them, frozen objects that can land on our foot if dropped or knocked from the counter, plates and glassware that can break and produce sharp pieces, chipped glasses and serving items that can cut us, hot liquids and food that can burn us (when touched or put into our mouths), hot burners, cookware (sometimes heavy) that can fall from the cabinet and land on us, chairs or stools that we stand on when we don't feel like getting something proper to use (and then fall from them), cooking oil or water that can get spilled or dripped onto the floor and then become slippery, and vegetable or fruit peelings or skins that can end up on the floor and become slippery. There are even more examples.

There are well-known issues of safety in the bathroom also. When we feel that we might slip in the shower or the bathmat or trip on the shower or tub threshold, it doesn't make us feel very secure. It's as if the house is getting the better of us. That is not a good feeling. We need to preserve that safe feeling, and we need to take this understanding to our clients and help them get the same level of satisfaction and peace-of-mind from their homes that we expect and demand of our own.  

When we add in the security of flooring to not trip us or give under our step, this becomes yet another area of the home where safety and security blend. We must feel secure in walking around and navigating our living space - all of us.

____________


Steve HoffackerCAPS, C.E.A.C., is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.