Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. An important goal of this web site is to provide easily accessible resources for members of the public, local health departments and other organizations, assisting ongoing outreach efforts to those most vulnerable to extreme heat events.
Unlike the old adage “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” Carbon Monoxide (CO) is called the invisible killer because the gas cannot be seen or smelled. In 2009, 784 people died of unintentional injuries due to non-fire exposure to gases in the US. Most of those deaths were due to carbon monoxide.
About Carbon Monoxide Safety One of the greatest threats to your safety is the quality of air within your home. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a subtle yet dangerous threat because the gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Each year, hundreds of people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Thousands of other people suffer the effects of the gas without realizing it. Because CO symptoms mimic the flu and other common illnesses, CO poisoning can be easily missed during a routine medical examination.
CO is produced when any fuel does not burn completely because of insufficient oxygen. Mild exposure can cause severe illness. Possible sources of CO include:
- Furnace or boiler
- Gas or fuel-oil water heater
- Gas or wood fireplace
- Gas kitchen range
- Plugged, rusted, disconnected, or defective chimneys or vents
- Back drafting of combustion gases into the home
- Automobiles in attached garages
It is important to know that CO can be produced and spill into your home without any of the preceding clues present.
What Can you Do: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that every residence with fuel-burning appliances be equipped with at least one UL-listed CO alarm. For added protection, place one on every level of the home. Read and follow manufacturers’ instructions. If your alarm indicates high levels of carbon monoxide in your home:
The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) publication, “Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips” provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to avoid CO exposure in your home and how to properly use CO alarms.
Fire and Smoke Safety
Thousands of people die from fire every year in this country. Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gas, rather than contact with the flames. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is a safe escape (plan).
About Fire & Smoke Safety Thousands of people die from fire every year in this country. Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gas, rather than contact with the flames. The tragedy is that many of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions.
Smoke Alarms: Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm can decrease the chances of dying in a reported fire by half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Fire Extinguisher: A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. Portable extinguishers have limitations; because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.
Home Sprinkler System: Over 80% of fire deaths occur in the home. Home fire sprinklers can save lives and property from fire. They respond quickly and effectively to fire, often extinguishing the fire before the fire department arrives. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water on the fire.
Because fire sprinkler systems react so quickly, they can dramatically reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire which amounts to less damage. Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings. What many people don’t realize is that the same life-saving technology is also available for homes.
What You Can Do Fires are traumatizing and frightening, as is a carbon monoxide incident. It is essential to fully recognize the hazards of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning and to take preventative action. A regular home inspection, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and an emergency exit plan will help you and your family live more safely.
Sources of additional info and fact sheets can be accessed as follows: Fire Extinguishers, Home Fire Sprinklers, and Smoke Alarms. Source: http://publications.usa.gov/epublications/safefromfirenco/firesafety.htm