It is now October and as temperatures start to drop, we begin to prepare our homes for the cold months ahead. During those months, a person’s home is often closed to the outside air. This reduction in ventilation can potentially lead dangerous levels of carbon monoxide building up in your home. The risk of fire is also an ever present concern. To help prevent the sometimes personal injury consequences of these risks, some simple precautions can be taken:
· Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors generously.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be on each floor of the house, covering all sleeping areas. Often, one device can provide both smoke and carbon monoxide detection. Some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are linked together, so that when one alarm detects the presence of carbon monoxide or smoke, all the alarms in the house sound. These connected systems of detectors are far rarer than the more common stand-alone detector units. Regardless of what type of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors you choose, it is important that the detectors are positioned throughout the home so that all persons can hear the alarm, regardless of whether they are awake or asleep, if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
· Demonstrate the sound of each detector – Family members need to know the difference.
If you have multiple, stand-alone smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, it is important that each member of your family know the difference between the alarms each detector makes. These sounds can help family members identify the origin of smoke or carbon monoxide in the home.
· Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.
It is important to regularly test every detector in your home on a monthly basis to ensure that it is functioning properly. Immediately replace any detectors that do not work. As a general rule, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 10 years to ensure they function properly when needed.
· Replace the batteries of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every year.
Replace the batteries to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every year, or sooner, if the alarm chirps. If you have not replaced the batteries to your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in some time, now is the perfect opportunity to do so while you are preparing your home for winter.
· Clean all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regularly.
Vacuum or clean the grille on each smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector in your home on a regular basis. If the grille to the detector becomes clogged with dust, dirt, or other particles, it may not properly detect smoke or carbon monoxide.
· Post local emergency contact numbers in your home.
If you detect smoke or carbon monoxide in your home, it is important to contact your local fire department or 911 call center immediately. Having local contact information for various emergency services readily available is critically important to ensure those services can be quickly reached in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide exposure.
The attorneys at the Manchin Injury Law Group, PLLC, want you to be as safe as possible in the days ahead. By following the safety tips listed above, you can help ensure you and your family are better protected from the risks of fire and carbon monoxide.