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5 safety hazards you may find on someone else's property

You spend more time than you realize on other people's property. Every time you visit a friend, drop by the grocery store or stay in a hotel, you're putting your own safety in someone else's hands.

You expect the person who owns that property to maintain it and ensure that it's safe. You take these things for granted. Unfortunately, many property owners do not hold up their end of the deal. They leave dangerous conditions in place through ignorance or negligence. The risk of injury surrounds you.

To help you spot the danger, here are five common safety hazards:

1. Loose or broken handrails on stairs

Falls down stairs can lead to serious injuries and even death. They're nothing to take lightly. You assume that the handrail is in compliance with local building codes and that it's firmly affixed to the wall, but what if it's broken or even missing? What if it was never installed properly? One slip and you could find yourself in the hospital.

2. Slippery surfaces

In Florida, you do not have to worry about ice and snow as often as they do in northern states, but that does not mean outdoor surfaces are always safe. How slippery are those tiles by the front door after a hard rain? You also have to watch out for slippery surfaces after a spill in a store or a business. Owners should mark them promptly and clean them up.

3. Fire hazards

There are hundreds of thousands of house fires annually in the United States. Even minor fires can lead to smoke inhalation risks. Major fires can lead to burns, serious injuries and loss of life. Poor maintenance often creates fire hazards, from wiring that got installed improperly to smoke alarms that do not work and haven't been tested in years.

4. Drowning risks

People in Florida love pools. Both above-ground and below-ground pools offer an escape from the heat. On cooler nights later in the year, hot tubs are popular. As common as these fixtures are in suburbs across the state, pools are a serious drowning hazards, especially for children. Dangerous pools are those without fences and without secure gates, which young children can access on their own.

5. Carbon monoxide poisoning

Gas leaks are so dangerous because you may never smell the gas at all. These can be fatal, and they often are when they happen in the middle of the night. A poorly maintained HVAC system can pose a threat, and homes without carbon monoxide detectors leave you vulnerable.

Your rights

These are just five examples, but they help illustrate the risks you face. If you or a family member suffers serious injuries, be sure you know your rights.

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