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Staying safe at home

We have certainly had a lot on our minds lately.

Not only have we spent nearly a year working to slow the spread of the coronavirus while watching the number of infections and the death toll climb, but there have been other disturbing things going on in our nation.

Questions about police brutality and racial equality have led to riots and policy changes. Concerns about glorifying historical figures who may have contributed to the divisiveness that still haunts us today have led to efforts by some to topple or remove statues and monuments that others hold in high regard.

A tumultuous presidential election has some of the nation’s highest-ranking leaders questioning the integrity of the process that has determined the makeup of our government for generations.

It’s enough to cause almost anyone to feel distracted and disheartened. But we mustn’t let such issues on the national stage cause us to forget to use common sense here at home.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are all sorts of dangers around us that have been present for decades. There are hazards on the roadways that we all need to be on the lookout for, and there are the everyday possibilities of slips, falls and all sorts of accidents.

At this tine of year, it is especially important to be alert to the dangers associated with home heating appliances. Our reporter recently talked with a Columbia Gas official about things area residents can do to remain safe.

One of the most important of those things is to know the smell of the odorant called mercaptan that gas suppliers add to their product, which is naturally odorless and colorless. That rotten egg or sulfur smell might just save your life if a leak were to occur in your home. Be alert for that scent, and watch for other signs of a gas leak such as blowing dirt, bubbling water or a roaring or hissing sound around pipes.

If you encounter any of those warning signs, stop what you are doing leave the area immediately and call 911. You can then call your gas supplier and wait for help to arrive.

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