Spring Ahead on Sunday and check those alarms!!

spring aheadAnother Daylight Savings is fast approaching. Sunday, March 9th is the time to set our clocks an hour ahead making us REALLY tired or messed up the next day.

Sunday is also a reminder to check our fire and / or carbon monoxide alarm batteries. But it may be a good time to check the inventory to see if you have enough or they’re installed in the best locations.

Fire Alarms

Battery-powered fire alarms do not need to be professionally installed and most dwellings on the Outer Banks have the minimum number of smoke / fire alarms. To make sure your alarm is strategically placed in your home, it is always best to install them in the hallways leading from the bedrooms as well as in the bedrooms themselves. You may want to err on the side of caution and have too many than too few smoke alarms. Hard-wired fire alarms do need to be installed by a licensed professional.

The following links are from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • This link shows you fire alarm placement and more detailed information.
  • This link has what kind of smoke alarms may work for your home and fire escape plans.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is an invisible killer. It a colorless, ordorless gas that comes from the incomplete burning of fuels including propane and natural gas. Equipment powered by internal combustion engines like portable generators as well as furnaces and water heaters produce carbon monoxide.

Many homes that have fire alarms may not have Carbon Monoxide detectors, but they are easy enough to install. They also should be installed in the hallway outside bedrooms in a plug-in outlet or up on the wall. It is not recommended to install above appliances or heating units.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission details safety tips to protect from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

Safety Tips

  • Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
  • Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
  • Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.

Know the Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever).

They include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. For slowly developing residential CO problems, occupants and/or physicians can mistake mild to moderate CO poisoning symptoms for the flu, which sometimes results in tragic deaths. For rapidly developing, high level CO exposures (e.g., associated with use of generators in residential spaces), victims can rapidly become mentally confused, and can lose muscle control without having first experienced milder symptoms; they will likely die if not rescued.

So, while you’re turning the hands of your clocks forward and checking the fire alarm batteries, make sure your Carbon Monoxide detectors are up to date and working, too.

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**above information is from the US Consumer product Safety Commission for Public informational purposes only.