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Published on March 12, 2014

Time to Spring Ahead for Safety

March 12, 2014

Daylight saving time beginsOn Sunday, March 9, people across the country will change their clocks for daylight saving time. KishHealth System is urging everyone to use this opportunity to also change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that you cannot see or smell. On average, there were an estimated 184 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths annually associated with consumer products from 2004 through 2007. Carbon monoxide associated with generators and home heating systems accounted for the largest percentage of reported fatalities.

CO and smoke alarms should be tested monthly. KishHealth System recommends that consumers replace the batteries in their smoke and CO alarms every year. Smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. Each home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in the area outside individual bedrooms. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available.

KishHealth System recommends these safety tips to prevent CO poisoning from occurring in the home:

  • Have a professional inspect home heating, cooling, and water-heating appliances annually. Improperly operating appliances can produce fatal CO concentrations in the home.
  • Never ignore a CO alarm signal. It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. If the alarm signal sounds, do NOT try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air. Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.
  • Never use a portable generator indoors - including garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds. Opening doors and windows or using fans will NOT prevent CO build up in the home.
  • When using portable generators, keep them outdoors and far away from open doors, windows, and vents to avoid toxic levels of CO from building up indoors.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. The CO from generators can quickly lead to full incapacitation and death.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

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