You probably heard on the news earlier this year how ten Twin Cities area residents were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily, they were awake and able to call for help when they felt the symptoms, but the tragedy could have been much worse if their duplex had filled with the deadly gas while everyone was asleep.
To prevent similar dangers from harming your family, you need to have the tools available to keep your family safe.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
The Oakdale Fire Department lists a number of safety tips for local residents, but none is more important than carbon monoxide safety. According to the CDC, one of the reasons carbon monoxide is so deadly is that it is so hard to detect.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, and it’s symptoms of nausea or dizziness are easy to confuse with a minor illness that can be slept off. However, the gas can quickly render its victims unconscious and is deadly within a few hours.
A carbon monoxide detector can detect small levels of CO and sound an alarm long before you begin to feel symptoms. That gives you plenty of time to get your family outside and to call for help.
Install your CO detector near bedroom doors, your kitchen, and main hallways. You also want CO detectors anywhere gas can leak or enter inside — in your garage (with cars and lawnmowers), by a gas furnace, and near other gas appliances.
Even though smoke and fire are much easier to detect than carbon monoxide, smoke detectors are still very important. First, if you’re asleep when a fire starts, there’s a chance you may never wake up. Second, even if you’re awake, getting an earlier warning gives you more time to get your family outside and to call the fire department before the fire spreads.
Smoke detectors should be placed similarly to carbon monoxide detectors, but remember a few things.
- Test the alarms monthly.
- Replace the batteries once per year. Even if the alarm is also hard-wired, a fire may knock the power out before the alarm sounds.
- Replace the entire alarm every ten years.
- Check for smoke alarm recalls. One recent recall is Kiddie brand alarms for having a manufacturing defect that can keep smoke from triggering the sensor.
- Consider interconnected alarms that all sound the alarm in case you aren’t able to hear an alarm sounding in another part of your home.
In the event of a fire, you should always call 911 and evacuate your family first. However, having a small fire extinguisher on hand could allow you to contain a small fire and prevent it from spreading to the rest of your home.
Keep in mind that you need a different kind of extinguisher for different kinds of fires such as food on your stove versus electrical fires. OSHA has a good guide.
If you do have to use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS.
- Pull the pin.
- Aim low.
- Squeeze the handle.
- Sweep from side to side.
Finally, don’t forget to check for fire extinguisher recalls as well. There is also a recent recall out on Kiddie fire extinguishers.
Are you wondering how much all of this will cost? While your family’s safety is priceless, Minnesota insurance companies often offer discounts for making your home safer that can help offset your costs. Contact Andreotti Agency to learn more.