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Household Items Posing Danger in Kenyan Homes

  • There are numerous household items that Kenyans use on a day-to-day basis that seem harmless but could be, causing injuries or even death.

    Below are some of the items, which may be efficient but may cause fatalities if not properly handled;

    1.) Gas

    A number of houses in Kenya use gas cylinders for cooking. While they may be efficient and help save time, they have also proven to be dangerous resulting in explosions and the death of family members.

    Gas explosions are caused by faulty equipment for example pipes which may cause a leak. If the leaked gas is exposed to an ignition source such as heat or fire, it has the potential to explode.

    Some of the important precautions that need to be taken to ensure safety in a house include; storing the cylinder in an upright position and in a well-ventilated space away from heat, open fire or children.

    Beware of smell that may indicate that the gas is leaking. In case of this smell, do not light a fire or operate any electrical switches. Open all doors and windows, disconnect the cylinder and place it outside the building.

    It is also important to return the cylinder to the station of purchase in case you detect a leak.

    File image of a house on fire

    File image of a house on fire

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    2.) Faulty shower heads

    Faulty showerheads are ticking time bombs that pose a fatal danger to the occupants of a house.

    James Kimani, an electrician told Kenyans.co.ke that water heaters can lead to loss of lives by electrocution if not installed or maintained properly.

    “Some fake cables will heat up and burn the insulating sheath to expose the wire carrying the current to the water which can be deadly,” he explained. 

    It is important to get an electrician to check for any loose connections regularly, as the earth wire can sometimes get disconnected. 

    A photo showing the inside and an instant shower head

    A photo showing the inside and an instant shower head

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    3.) Extension Cords

    An extension cord can be extremely dangerous if misused or overloaded. It can cause fires that can lead to deaths.

    It is important to inspect all extension cords at the beginning of the day for any signs of wear or damage and remove any worn, severely discolored or damaged cords from usage immediately.

    4.) Slippery titles

    Slippery surfaces in bathrooms can cause falls which can be fatal if you hit your head or neck on a hard surface.

    Health experts indicate that hitting your head on a hard surface can cause a concussion. They add that blood from intracranial bleeding may press against the brain and eventually cause death. 

    One should make sure that proper designs for different rooms in a house are fitted to avoid such accidents. 

    5.) Jiko

    In January 2021, a family of five members was found dead in their house in Githurai, Nairobi County. The five suffocated to death due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

    This family represents hundreds of others who die in their sleep after inhaling the deadly carbon monoxide emitted by the burning charcoal. 

    The challenge is not limited in the informal settlements. In 2011, a house help at ODM Leader Raila Odinga’s Karen home,  Leonida Namayemba, was found dead after she closed herself in one of the rooms with a jiko which she hoped would keep her warm. 

    Jikos are considered silent killers among families who light them in a bid to keep themselves warm behind closed doors during the cold weather.

    Experts say that poisoning happens in humans when carbon monoxide is trapped in poorly ventilated and contained spaces. 

    File image of a burning jiko

    File image of a burning jiko

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