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Stock up on safety gear before your next DIY project

Do-it-yourself, or DIY, projects around the house can give homeowners a more personal stake in their properties. Getting their own hands dirty when renovating a bathroom rather than paying a professional to do all that work gives many homeowners a strong sense of accomplishment while allowing them to learn a few things and save some money along the way.

But whether homeowners have years of experience with regard to renovations or are about to embark on their first DIY adventure, safety should be a top priority. Securing the right safety equipment might not guarantee a DIY project comes out looking exactly as homeowners hope, but it can help protect DIYers and their helpers from suffering injuries as they renovate their homes. The following is a list of some safety equipment all homeowners should have at the ready before beginning home improvement projects.

• First-aid kit: All homes should have a first-aid kit on hand, regardless of whether any renovations are in the offing. First-aid kits can help treat minor cuts and scrapes, but such kits also can be used to prevent more serious injuries from escalating in the time it takes to see a physician. When tackling a large DIY project, secure a well-stocked first-aid kit that includes more than just band-aids and adhesives. In addition to such items, a reliable first-aid kit should include antiseptic ointment, a chemical cold pack, cotton balls, eyedrops, first-aid tape, needles, sterile gauze bandages, and tweezers. In addition, make sure the kit includes a first-aid handbook that contains instructions regarding the treatment of common injuries.

• Eyewear: Protective eyewear is essential when working on renovation projects. Safety goggles may suffice on smaller projects, but make sure the goggles fit well, as loose goggles will still allow debris into your eyes, and that debris can compromise your vision and result in injuries to your eyes. If you will be welding, be sure to wear proper welding goggles with adequate lens shading.

• Mask/respirator: Home renovation projects, especially those that involve taking down walls, can leave DIYers' lungs susceptible to lung irritation and disease. But masks and respirators can protect the lungs. Cloth masks may be sufficient for smaller projects, while more significant undertakings may require the use of dual-cartridge respirators that provide added protection for sensitive lungs.

• Gloves: Hands also can take a beating during home improvement projects, so it's important that DIYers find sturdy gloves to wear throughout their renovation efforts. While this may contradict the idea of getting your hands dirty, splintered, blistered hands are painful and susceptible to infection. Wear sturdy rubber gloves when using chemical cleaners or any products containing acid.

• Joint supports: Achy joints can make it difficult to effectively tackle DIY projects, so it's important that you support your joints from start to finish. Knee and elbow pads can protect your joints as you spend time on your knees or crawling around while working on projects close to the ground.

• Back support: Many DIY projects involve lifting and transporting heavy objects, and men and women unused to such lifting can quickly suffer an injury if they are not adequately supporting their backs. Wear a back brace and/or weight belt when lifting or moving heavy objects, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance if you find an object is too heavy to move on your own.