October 24, 2014

Smoke and CO Detectors

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Smoke and CO Detectors

Smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a fire by half. Unfortunately most people killed by fires die in their own homes while asleep. Smoke detectors sense the presence of a fire and sound the warning in time to wake sleeping persons and allow them to escape. All homes need to have a working smoke detector in the hallway leading to the bedrooms and on every level. Smoke detectors should not be installed in garages or near kitchens, bathrooms or fireplaces to avoid nuisance alarms.

For the best protection:

  • Test your smoke detectors monthly.
  • Clean your detectors and change the batteries at least twice a year.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every ten years.

A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without using detection technology. Elevated levels of CO can be dangerous to humans depending on the amount present and length of exposure. Smaller concentrations can be harmful over longer periods of time while increasing concentrations require diminishing exposure times to be harmful.

CO detectors are designed to measure CO levels over time and sound an alarm before dangerous levels of CO accumulate in an environment, giving people adequate warning to safely ventilate the area or evacuate. Some system-connected detectors also alert a monitoring service that can dispatch emergency services if necessary.
While CO detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa, dual smoke/CO detectors are also sold. Smoke detectors detect the smoke generated by flaming or smoldering fires, whereas CO detectors detect and warn people about dangerous CO buildup caused, for example, by a malfunctioning fuel-burning device. In the home, some common sources of CO include open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage.

Prevention Guidelines

  • You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.

Contact us for more information or assistance with smoke and/or CO detectors.