HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE HOME
A Tentative Source Unit for Teachers
FLORIDA PROGRAM FOR IMPROVEMENT OF SCHOOLS
Bulletin No. 22-i
John D. Anderson
Health Education Workshop
Florida State College for Women
Summer Session, 1940
The State Department of Education
Price--First copy 10; Additional copies 50 each
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Source Units in Health Education
This is one of a number of source units developed at the Health Educatic.
Workshop conducted at the Florida State College for Women during the s .m-
mcr of 1940 under the direction of Miss Fannie Shaw of the Georgia State
3ccrd of Health and Miss Louise Smith of the Georgia State College for
T.omern The Workshop was cooperatively sponsored by the Florida State
College for Women, the State Board of Health, the State Department of Edu-
cation, and the Florida Tuberculosis and. Health Association. These agencies
aided in the preparation and editing of the materials, as well as in finan-
cing the Workshop. These tentative source units will. be erperimentally used
during the 1940-41 school year. At the end of that period corrections will
be made and the materials will be placed in printed form. Tentative source
units now available from the State Department of Education are:
a, Malaria--A Menace to Florida's Future
b. Hookworm--Prevention and Control in Florida
c. Tuberculosis--Prevention and Control
d. Wanted--A Pied Piper for Florida (Typhus)
e. Pellagrao-A Preventable and Curable Disease
f. The Production of Safe Milk
g. Improved Appearance Through Better Health Practices
h. Sleep and Rest
i. H-alth and Safety in the Home
j. S-iliful Living (Tentative Source Units in Water, Home, and. HIghway Safety)
k, Alcohol and Narcotics
1i Living With Others (Personality Development and Mental Hyg'iene)
m. Building and Preserving Sound Teeth
n. Preparation for Marriage
Other source units developed in the Wcr"h:op are in the process of completion.
These, as well as those developed by teachers in their regular class work,
will be made available from tine to time. Announcement of these will be made
through the Florida School Bulletin. Teachers are encouraged and urged to de-
velop and submit units of this general type. They will be carefully evaluated
and, if satisfactory, made available to other teachers in the state foi the
cost cf paper and postage.
Additional copies of this source unit, as well as copies of other units, may
be obtained at a cost of 10 for the first copy and 50 for additional copies,
whether of the same or different source units.
The Use of Source Units
Sound., up-to-date health information and purposeful learning experiences are
basic to effective health instruction. To assist the classroom teachers in
the organization of their instruction programs, these source units have been
prepared in tentative form. These units are intended to be used by teachers
purely as a source from which they may select subject matter and activities
appropriate for use with pupils of all ages and grades, The interests and
needs of the pupils with whom the teacher i, working will largely determine
how the materials will be adapted for classroom use,
Before using a source unit, it is suggested that each teacher read carefully
Parts I and V of the bulletin, "Plans for Florida's School Health Program".
i- is further~ suggested. that the source unit, be carefully rcr.A nd that r.ll
refcrriace material listed in the unit be ordered well in advance of its use.
Onl-.y .den the teacher is thoroughly oriented to the subject matter area and
the teaching experiences can she effectively adapt materi',ls in a source uvi-
to her cecific grade.
Health and Safety in the Home
I. The Problem
Together with food and clothing, shelter is a fundamental need of human
existence. No housing program can be sound unless the shelter it provides
is healthful. The problem of more and better housing has become alarming,
and the nation is faced with the question of either finding some ways of
providing better houses or dealing with the aftermath, which means disease,
sickness, crime, immorality and discontent, all of which strike at the very
foundation of the government--the home. The survey made by the American
Public health Association of the health situation in Florida revealed that
some of our major health problems were hookworm, malaria, typhus and tuber-
culosis, in all of which housing plays an important part in control and
eradication. The comparative wage and rent scale for Florida is below that
of other states, and, therefore, is one of the possible factors of the poor
housing situation. Whatever may be the exact quantitative contribution of
bad housing conditions to the excessive mortality and morbidity rate of the
low income group, there can be no doubt of the fact that deficiency in quan-
tity and quality of domestic water supplies, insanitary toilets, overflow-
ing cesspools, overcrowding, lack of light and air, cold and dampness, ab-
sence of screening against flies and mosquitoes, fire and accident hazards
do contribute in a substantial (if immeasurable) degree to the increased
morbidity and mortality rate. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the
schools to help teach at all times the construction of houses in a way that
they will make for healthy, sanitary, and happy homes.
II. Understandings, Attitudes, Practices, and Skills Which May Be Developed
Through the Use of This Unit
A. Knows and understands that sanitary homes are essential to health and
B. Understands what makes a sanitary home.
C. Understands the relationship between good housing and health.
D. Desires home improvement for himself and his neighbors.
E. Feels the need for better housing.
F. Feels his responsibility as a neighbor in that he keeps his home in a
G. Practices the knowledge of sanitary living in his own home.
H. Improves.his own home as far as his economic condition will permit by:
1. Building a sanitary privy.
2. Screening the house from flies and mosquitoes.
3. Rat-proofing the house and barn.
4. Disposing of garbage properly.
5. Beautifying the home and grounds.
Man, in the beginning, lived in caves for shelter. He sought these caves
as near the places where his food was found as possible. As he has pro-
gressed from the cave until the present day, he has continuously been in-
terested in improving his means of shelter, until it has come to mean more
to him than just a shelter-a-home. When the white man came to America he
found the red man living in wigwams. He immediately began to construct
houses of wood and stone which would provide shelter from the weather, as
well as a refuge in time of trouble. As the population has increased, the
problem of providing shelter has become more acute and alarming.
That a housing problem exists in the United States is generally recognized;
that it has been a problem of long standing is attested by the fact that
numerous legislative and philanthropic efforts have been made in the past
to abolish or ameliorate existing housing evils. The development of housing
evils in the United States is due to numerous causes which have been in
operation during rapid development of this country. The amazing increase
in population in the United States since 1850, due to successive tidal waves
of immigrants, when existing housing facilities were woefully inadequate
and new construction did not keep pace with demand, resulted in the develop-
ment of large and congested urban areas and in a housing situation that gren.
worse instead of better. Even where the housing facilities were adequate
and satisfactory, the ignorance of the occupants frequently led to gross an:
serious abuses which transformed facilities into offensive pronorty.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-
clad, ill-nourished." This statement applies to Florida, as well as to
IV. Useful Content for Teachers
A. Selection of Home Site
The home should be located so that surface water drains away from the
building, rather than toward it. There should be no brooding places
for mosquitoes near it. Adequate light is very essential to a good
home, as sunlight is nature's great disinfectant.
Proper care as to neighbors should be exercised, for a home without
neighbors is very lonely. Children form friendships with those nearest
them. They need wholesome associations. Both children and adults need
recreation and opportunity for social intercourse. It is, therefore,
desirable that there should be good social agencies, such as the school,
church, playgrounds, and clubs located near the site chosen.
The home should be located in as quiet a place as possible. Loud
noises that keep people awake at night cause nervousness and fatigue.
Experiment and experience have proven that when noises bombard the
brain through the ear, it causes fatigue which may result in ex-
In looking for a home site, one should consider the sources of dis-
agreeable odors. A change of wind may bring an unsavory odor from the
garbage dump, sewage disposal plant, polluted river, stagnant swamp,
or busy factory. It is bettor to choose a site far from those con-
ditions and bear the extra expense of transportation than to orpose
one's family to these hygienic conditions.
The essential concept of a home involves the possibility of that iso-
lation from the world which every human being sometimes craves and
needs. Especially in cities the home is a needed refuge from the
noise and tension of the street and market place. The same principle
applies withinn the home itself. When the dwelling unit is crowded,
frequent personal contacts may be the cause of nervous irritation as
detrimental to mental health as is the more obvious influence of con-
tact infection upon physical health. "A room of ones own" is ideal.
If this is not possible, we can insist on a room shared with not more
than one other person as an essential minimum.
Opportunities for physical exercises and recreation, for both children
and adults are essential to a sense of organic well being and enjoy.
ment and the promotion of good mental health.
B. Water Supply for the Home
A safe water supply adequate in quantity and under pressure should be
the aim of every home. The water supply system should be located, con-
structed, and operated so that the water supply will not be a means of
conveying disease. The most desirable water supply is that which is
kept clean and pure from source until it is used. At least three
diseases are spread by impure water--typhoid fever, dysentery, and
C. Types of Water Supplies
The municipal water supply is safest. It is developed under the guid-
ance and supervision of competent engineers, with plans by law, sub-
mitted to and approved by the State Board of Health and by town authori-
No surface water is safe for drinking purposes unless filtered and puri-
fied. This is because these bodies of water are natural drains for
the surrounding soils and, therefore, may be contaminated with whatever
happens to be deposited on their drainage sheds.
When we speak of deep-seated ground water, we mean that which comes
from below one or more impervious layers which shut off water in the
surface soil from the layer furnishing the deep supply. Obviously the
deep-seated supply is much safer, but only drilled wells may be used
and their development is expensive and beyond the reach of many home
Shallow ground water refers to the water obtained from sources above
any impervious layer. Such supplies are not as safe as deep-seated
sources. However, the soil offers good purification And wells properly
constructed and protected from surface drainage furnish good, pure
water. The chief danger from this type of water supply is pollution
of wells from surface drainage over the top of well or around casing.
Shallow ground may be obtained and developed very cheaply sometimes at
depths of 12 to 15 feet.
In order to exclude the danger of pollution of water supply, by wastes
seeping through the soil, it is necessary to locate the well at a
higher point than the privy, barn, residence, or other possible sources
of pollution. Wastes travel downward through the soil and, therefore,
the well is located lower than these buildings and there is great danger
of pollution. The well should be located as far from the privy and the
neighbors as space will permit.
The, types of wells are: drilled wells, dug wells, bo-red wells, and
Complete details for the construction of these wells may be secured by
writing the Florida State Board of Health, Bureau of Sanitation, Jack-
sonville, Florida, and asking for Bulletin No. 104-E, Water Supply in
D. Plumbing for the Home
The purpose of a good plumbing system is: first, to carry a sufficient
water supply into the home through a series of pipes to sinks, lava--
tories, toilets, and baths; second, to remove through another series of
pipes: the waste water and discharge it into the sewer system. To in-
sure proper installation and satisfactory materials, certain standards
have been set up for plumbers and house builders. Most states and
cities have passed ordinances which require a person to pass an exami-
nation before he is allowed to work within their boundaries. This in-
sures the public that a person who is listed as a plumber is qualified
to do the work. The plumbing system is in contact with our daily lives
and if defective may be more dangerous and cause us more discomfort than
other sanitary defects which are more fundamental. The system of waste
pipes forms the connecting link between the house and sewer system.
Unless properly installed, these serve as entrance for sewer gas, rats,
roaches, and other vermin. This principle requires the construction of
house plumbing in such a way that the water cannot be contaminated by
cross connection, by siphonage from bowl, tubs or drips into water
Complete instruction for house plumbing may be had by consulting a cer-
tified plumber or writing the Florida State Board of Health, Jackson-
E. Lighting the Home
Good lighting is necessary to avoid danger of eye strain and facilitate
cleanliness. It is of advantage to have the tops of the windows as
near to the ceiling as possible to give the greatest sky angle in all
parts of the room and secure the greatest lighting effectiveness.
The types of artificial light are: direct light, in which a single
bulb extends from wall or ceiling without shade of any kind; indirect
light, in which a bulb reflects light on the ceiling and is covered by
an opaque shade, which allows no light to pass downward through the
shade, but must be reflected from the ceiling; semi-indirect light,
in which a bulb partially reflects light on the ceiling, the bulb being
covered by a translucent shade which allows part of the light to filter
downward. An unshaded drop-light in the center of the room causes eye
strain. Side lights, floor or table lamps are preferable for reading,
Illuminating engineers feel that at least ten foot-candles of light
intensity is needed for reading or study. For sewing on fine work,
a minimum of twenty foot-candles is essential. Light should fall over
the left shoulder onto the book or work.
Window shades and dark colored walls or trees too near the windows
greatly reduce the natural light in a room. Cream colored shades and
light colored walls greatly improve the natural light in the home.
Glare from the sun, artificial lights, and glossy paper should be
F. Sewage Disposal for the Home
Sewage is the human excreta and other wastes coming from the dwellings,
manufacturing plants, or other places of business.
There are two methods of sewage disposal--wet and dry disposal. Wet
disposal consists of the several tanks and cesspools which are practi-
cable only where there is a pressure water system.
Dry sewage disposal consists of one sanitary method of rural use: the
sanitary pit privy. Rules for construction of this privy may be secured
by writing the Florida State Board of Health, Bureau of Engineering,
Jacksonville, and asking for Bulletin No. 102-E, The Sanitary Pit Privy.
To prevent this privy from becoming a nuisance, it should and must be
operated as indicated below.
1. The privy house must be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
2. Use only toilet paper. Newspapers and other heavy paper fill the
pit too rapidly.
3. No disinfectants, lime, deodorants, or other chemicals should be
used in the pit.
4. Do not throw tin cans, boxes, bottles, garbage, or other wastes in
5. The pit or vault must be kept closed fly tight by keeping the seat
covers closed at all times when the seat is not occupied, by main-
taining the hinges and lid in good condition, by replacing the
screen wire in the vent pipe whenever it rusts, by repairing all,
openings or cracks leading to the pit immediately.
G. Ventilation of the Home
Three essentials of good ventilation are:
1. An even temperature of about 68 degrees F. in rooms which are used
for sitting. A cooler temperature is desirable for sleeping, if
covers are adequate.
2. Air should be in motion to insure a constant supply of fresh air.
Cross ventilation so planned that drafts are avoided is desirable.
3. Air should be clean and fresh--free from dust, smoke, and furnace
H. Vermin Control of the Home
1. Mosquito and fly proofing your home
The Anopheles mosquito will work a long time to find an opening to
get into the house to get her blood meal. To keep mosquitoes out
of the house, it should be screened with either 16 or 18 mesh wire,
which is the most satisfactory screen recommended. To keep out very
small insects, such as sandflies, the screen wire cloth would need
to be of very fine mesh, which reduces the size of the openings left
for ventilation. A good rule to be remembered in purchasing
materials is that the most costly are the cheapest in the end, be-
cause they do not "corrode or rust" as quickly as the cheaper grades.
The salt-laden air or atmosphere of the region near the gulf and
ocean make it necessary to use a very resistant material, such as
bronze or copper screening. In the interior of the state galvanized
iron screen wire is most commonly used, but it requires frequent re-
placement, more so than copper or bronze. The walls of unceiled
houses may be made mosquito and fly proof by covering the walls with
heavy wrapping paper--70 pound Southern Kraft stock or 100 pound
cotton sample wrapping paper. The use of this tough, heavy grade
of brown paper tends to keep out dust and wind, thus keeping the
house clean, attractive, and free from insects in the summer and
cozy in the winter. Even newspapers, if applied in layers of three
or four sheets, are satisfactory. Newspapers, old rags, dried gray
moss, etc., are useful in chinking--closing up openings that can
scarcely be boarded up. Strips of tin are often necessary to cover
up cracks between boards on the floor and to fix around the stove
pipe or worn places in the kitchen floor.
There are four important things to remember about screen doors:
1. All screen doors must open outward and away from the structure.
2. The screen door must be strongly built, durable, properly fitted
3. It must close quickly behind the person entering the house.
4. It fits against the outside of the door and not into the door
Screens should be kept repaired. Holes in screens should be
promptly patched. Cut a piece of screen wire about three-fourths
of an inch larger than the hole, remove three or four strands of
wire, bend the frayed edges at the right angles to the patch; after
centering the patch over the hole, push the frayed edges through the
screen, and bend out again.
Complete and detailed instruction on screening the home may be had
by writing the Florida State Board of Health, Bureau of Engineering,
and asking for the Bulletin, "Mosquito Proofing Your Home".
2. Rat proofing your home
Rats are not only the least useful, but are perhaps the most
dangerous and expensive of nature's parasitic animals living at
man's expense. It is generally estimated that it costs one-half
a cent a day to feed a rat, and he will waste ten times that much.
It is also estimated that the rat population of the United States
equals that of the human inhabitants. At this rate it will cost
the people of the United States $2,500,000,000 to maintain and sup-
port a normal rat population. This economic loss is shared by
everyone, whether he knows it or not. This problem is international
,as well as state or national. It concerns the general public of all
countries. It can be solved by the continued and persistent ef-
forts in carrying out measures which are known to produce per-
manent results, so that freedom from rat life will be a normal
state of affairs. Rats are known to be agents in disseminating
certain epidemic diseases through the medium of the parasites that
infect them. Bubonic Plague has been transmitted to many parts of
the world in this manner. Typhus fever is transmitted by this
means also. Rats are frequently infected with intestinal parasites,
especially tapeworms. Trichina is also found in rats, and these
rodents are probably a factor in transmitting this infection among
hogs, whence it is spread to man.
The first step in the solution of the rat problem is to become ac-
quainted with all the factors involved and to understand their re-
lation to one another and the fundamental part each plays in the
perpetuation of rat life. No campaign of rat control can be
successfully carried out unless the persons engaged in its direction
have a general knowledge of: (1) the several species of rats, (2)
their habits and customs, (3) the places where they establish their
homes and shelter their young. There are three varieties of rats in
the United States, exclusive of mice. These three species vary
widely in appearance, and pure examples may be distinguished with
ease. The brown rat is the largest of the rats, while the roof rat
is next in size. The black rat is the smallest of the three. The
brown rat is the most prolific of the three species, producing from
three to five litters per annum, with from six to nine in each
litter. Litters of more than twenty brown rats have been recorded.
The average litter of black rats is five. The breeding of rats is
apparently limited only by the food supply and opportunities for
harboring and nesting. The animal in its fight for survival has de-
veloped remarkable resourcefulness and cunning in adapting itself to
live with man and evading its natural enemies.
Full details on how to control and rat proof your home may be se-
cured by writing the United States Treasury Department and asking
for the bulletin, "The Rat Proof Construction of Houses".
J. Safety in the Home
There is little flaming drama in the individual cases of death or in-
jury in the home. There were 31,500 deaths from home accidents in 1938.
Can we do something practical about this problem?
One of our greatest dangers from fires is the fault of electrical wiring.
If the wiring is done by competent electricians, the danger is greatly
reduced. Chimneys should be constructed and supported as to avoid
danger of overheating adjacent combustible elements. In every living
unit, the existence of exits which will not cut off in case of fire -
should be regarded as a minimum essential.
The chief toxic substances likely to be associated with the dwelling are
carbon-monoxide from imperfect combustion in cooking or heating ap-
pliances, leaking gas from fixtures, and toxic gases from certain re-
frigeration devices. The control of such hazards is obviously essen-
tial. Chimneys, furnaces, and stove-pipes should be maintained in tight
and clean conditions, as should gas connections and gas heating appli-
Falls and mechanical injuries are too diverse to be catalogued, but it
is clearly essential that stairs, windows, and balconies should be so
constructed as to minimize the danger of falls. In view of the many
serious falls that occur in the bath tub, this problem should be kept in
mind in planning the bathroom. Protection should be given against in-
juries on outside steps and walks. Adequate lighting of exterior courts,
walks, and particularly of steps is an essential safety factor,
V. Activities Suggested for Pupils
A. Make a survey in your home from the viewpoint of sunlight, air, noise,
water supply, and sewage disposal, and safety. Are any improvements
desirable? Are any possible?
B. Visit a reservoir and water purification plant and make a report on it.
C. Visit sewage disposal plant.
D. Make a report on types of noise absorbers suitable for home use.
E. Make a report and chart showing different types of wells.
F. Prepare a discussion on the topic, "What are the advantages of living
in the city?"..."The country?".
G. Study a set of house plans.
H. Make a spot map of your neighborhood showing good and poor housing.
I. Visit different housing projects in your community and make report.
J. Show films from F. H. A. on housing.
K. Go with sanitation officer on inspection tour.
L. Learn rules and regulations of National Board of Fire Underwriters re-
garding installation of heating plants.
M. Learn what the "Recommended Minimum Requirements for Plumbing", as pub-
lished by the National Bureau of Standards, are.
N. Learn conditions and requirements of the Tourist Camp Act of Florida.
0. Study building codes of your community.
P. Build model houses for exhibit.
Q. Develop a set of standards to determine a desirable location for build-
R. Have e~ch pupil develop a house plan and present to class for criticisms
S. Have pupils investigate and make a list of the common hazards that exist
in their own homes. Encourage them to eliminate as many of these
hazards as possible and report improvement.
T. Evaluate the relative merits of ooen fireplaces, heating stoves, hot
air furnaces, steam heat, hot water and vapor systems.
U. Evaluate the various types of home illumination.
V. Evaluate the plumbing codes in your local community to determine their
relations to health and safety.
W. Evaluate the different types of air conditioning.
X. Discuss ways of disposing of garbage in various types of homes and under
A. Reference Books
Andress, Goldberger, and Hallock, The Healthy Home and Community, New
York, Ginn and Company, 1939.
Broadhurst, Jean, Home and Community Hygiene, J. B. Lippincott and Co.
Brownell, Ireland and Giles, Everyday Living, New York, Rand, McNally
and Company, 1935.
Burkard, Chambers and Maroney, Personal and Public Health, Lyons and
Carnahan, New York City.
Chenoweth and Morrison, Community Hygiene, F. S. Croft Company, New
Mustard, Harry S., Introduction to Public Health, The MacMillan Company,
Nash, Jay B., Teachable Moments, A. S. Barnes and Company, New York,
Perry, Clarence Arthur, Housing for the Machine Age, Russell Sage
Foundation, 1939, New York.
Smiley, D. F., and Gould, Community Hygiene, The MacMillan Company, t
Steel, Ernest W., and White, Ella G., Hygiene of the Community, School,
and Home, Harper Brothers, New York and London, 1932.
Wheat and Fitzpatrick, Everyday Problems in Health, American Book Com-
pany, New York, 1935.
Florida State Board of Health, Jacksonville, Florida:
1. Florida State Sanitary Code
2. Sanitary Pit Privy
3. Sewage Disposal for the Home
4. Water Supply in the Home
5. Mosquito Proofing Your Home
American Public Health Association:
1. Basic Principles of Healthful Housing, Washington, D. C..