Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Who should have a CO Detector?
Single Family Residences
A single family residence, heated by a forced air furnace or a boiler that burns a fossil fuel , should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will be easily heard in all sleeping areas and should be installed according to manufacturers instructions.
Multiple Family Dwellings & Apartment Buildings.
A multiple family dwelling or apartment building, in which a hot water or steam boiler, that burns a fossil fuel and is located in the basement, should have one approved carbon monoxide detector installed in the room containing the central heating unit. The carbon monoxide detector should be installed according to manufacturers instructions.
Every apartment that has its own warm air heating plant (portable furnaces, space heaters, etc.) that burns a fossil fuel, should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will easily be heard in all sleeping rooms and should be installed according to the manufacturers instructions.
What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fossil fuels (Fossil fuels include natural gas, coal, kerosene, oil, propane and wood etc.) Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.
Who is at risk?
Those most at risk are:
- People with lung and heart disease
- Pregnant woman
Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:
- Nausea, Vomiting
- Dizziness, Confusion
- Trouble Breathing
If prolonged exposure continues, LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, COMA and ultimately DEATH will occur.
Do you have any of these fuel burning appliances?
- Gas furnace
- Gas water heater
- Wood burning Stove
- Gas ranges or Ovens
- Has dryers
- Kerosene heaters
- charcoal/gas grills
- Lawn mowers
- Snow blowers
- Chain saws
Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can occur if these appliances are improperly installed/maintained, damaged, malfunctioning or improperly used/ventilated. Furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves and chimneys should be checked yearly by a professional service. This is to ensure proper function and ventilation. Yard equipment (ie., lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.) or charcoal/gas grilles should never be used or run in the home.
What to do if detector goes off?
- Ventilate the house and get out
- As you leave, turn off fuel burning appliances if possible.
- Get fresh air
- Call 911
- Seek medical attention if you have signs or symptoms of CO poisoning
- Don't go back into the building until cleared by the fire department
Home Fire Safety Tips
These Are Simple Changes That Could Save Your Life:
- Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries
The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke detector batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality alkaline batteries, such as energizer brand batteries, to keep your smoke detector going year-long.
- Check Your Smoke Detectors
After inserting a fresh battery in your smoke detector, check to make sure the smoke detector itself is working by pushing the safety test button.
- Count Your Smoke Detectors
Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including the basement and family room and, most important, outside all bedrooms.
- Vacuum Your Smoke Detectors
Each month, clean your smoke detectors of dust and cobwebs to ensure their sensitivity.
- Change Your Flashlight Batteries
To make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them, use high-quality alkaline batteries. Note: Keep a working flashlight near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room, and use it to signal for help in the event of a fire.
- Install Fire Extinguishers
Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. Should you need to purchase one, the IAFC recommends a multi-or all-purpose fire extinguisher that is listed by an accredited testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory.
- Plan and Practice Your Escape:
Create at least two different escape routes and practice them with the entire family. Children are at double the risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused during fires. Make sure your children understand that a smoke detector signals a home fire and that they recognize its alarm
- Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery
Energizer brand Batteries, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and your local fire department urge you to adopt a simple, potentially lifesaving habit: change the batteries in your smoke detector when you change your clocks back to standard time in the fall.
Consider The Following:
- Each day, an average of three kids die in home fires - 1,100 children each year. About 3,600 children are injured in house fires each year. 90 percent of child fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors
- Although smoke detectors are in 92 percent of American homes, nearly one-third don't work because of old or missing batteries.
- A working smoke detector reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly half.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives.
Extinguishers Have Limits
- The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. There is no time to read directions during an emergency.
- The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
- The extinguisher must be kept near the exit, so the user has an escape route that will not be blocked by fire.
- The extinguisher must match the type of fire you are fighting. Extinguishers that contain water are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.
- The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire. Most portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as eight seconds
Choosing Your Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are tested by independent testing laboratories. They will be labeled for the type of fire they are intended to extinguish.
Class of Fires: There are three basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out. A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for a given class of fire.
Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable gas.
Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
Many household fire extinguishers are "multipurpose" A-B-C models, labeled for use on all three classes of fire. If you are ever faced with a Class A fire and don't have an extinguisher with an "A" symbol, don't hesitate to use one with the "B-C" symbol.
WARNING: It is very dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a grease or electrical fire. The "C" in a rating indicates that you can use the unit on electrical fires.
EXTINGUISHER SIZES: Portable extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle. Normally, an extinguisher that has a rating of 2-A:10-B:C on its label is recommended for each floor level. The larger the number, the larger the fire that the extinguisher can put out. Higher-rated models are often heavier. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguisher before you buy.
Extinguishers should be installed in plain view, above the reach of small children, near an escape route and away from stoves and heating appliances. Ask you local fire department for advice on the best locations.
Extinguishers require routine care. Read your operator's manual and ask your dealer how your extinguisher should be inspected and serviced. Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use. Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once, and must be replaced after use. Following manufacturer's instructions, check the pressure in your extinguishers once a month.
Remember the PASS-word
PULL the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other seals or tamper indicators.
AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.
SQUEEZE the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. (Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)
SWEEP from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.
Smoke Detectors and Home Escape Planning Could Save Your Life
Why a Smoke Detector? Most fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A smoke detector can alert you when there is a fire, in time to save your life. Smoke detectors work by sensing rising smoke from a fire and sounding an alarm.
What Type Should I Buy?
- Photoelectric uses a photoelectric bulb that sends forth a beam of light. When smoke enters, light from the beam is reflected from smoke particles into a photocell and the alarm is triggered.
- Ionization Chamber contains a small, safe radiation chamber source that produces electrically charged air molecules called ions. When smoke enters the chamber, it causes a change in the flow of ions, triggering the alarm.
Both are EQUALLY EFFECTIVE and neither requires that you be familiar with its inner workings. As long as you buy a detector that is tested by a major testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), you can be assured it has met certain testing requirements.
Where Should I Install My Detector?
Smoke rises, so the best place to install a detector is on the ceiling or high on an inside wall just below the ceiling. If the detector is below an un-insulated attic or in a mobile home, the detector should be placed on the wall 4" - 12" below the ceiling.
In a Multi-level home, a detector is needed on each level. On the first floor it should be placed on the ceiling at the base of the stairwell. Detectors should be installed within 15 feet of the bedrooms so they can be heard when the door is closed. But, remember not to install a detector within 3 feet of an air supply register that may blow smoke away. Don't install a detector between an air return and the sleeping area. The smoke will be re-circulated and diluted resulting in a delayed alarm.
If you are installing more than one detector you may want to consider purchasing units that can be interconnected. That way when one unit detects smoke, all the detectors will sound the alarm.
How Are Detectors Powered? Detectors can be powered two ways:
- Batteries: These are the easiest to install. They require no outlets or wiring connection, however, batteries must be replaced twice a year. We recommend you change them in the Spring and in the Fall when you change your clocks. All UL listed battery operated detectors are required to sound a trouble signal when a replacement is needed. The signal usually lasts 7 days, so it's advised to check the efficiency of the detector following extended periods away.
- Household current: Detectors can be powered with household current two ways. They can be plugged into any wall socket or can be wired permanently into your home's electrical system.
How Can I Best Care for My Detector?
Dirt, extreme changes in temperature and cooking exhaust can cause a false alarm or malfunction of the detector. To prevent false alarms, locate the detector away from air vents, air conditioners and fans. Keep the grillwork free of dirt by occasional vacuuming and dusting. Don't paint the cover of a smoke detector as this may clog the grillwork. Test your detector every month, or more often if necessary to make sure it's working. This is usually done with the test button, if provided.
Home Fire Safety Checklist
How many of these hazards can you eliminate in your home? If you answer "NO" to at least one of these questions, then the time for action is NOW
- Have you removed all combustible rubbish, leaves, and debris from your yard?
- Have you removed all waste, debris, and litter from your garage?
- If you store paint, varnish, etc., in your garage, are the containers tightly closed?
- Is there an approved safety can for the storing of gasoline for the lawn mowers, snowblowers, and snowmobiles, etc.?
- Do you keep your basement, storerooms, and attic free from rubbish, oily rags, old papers, mattresses, and broken furniture?
- Is there a sufficient number of metal cans with lids for rubbish and combustible debris?
- Are stoves, broilers, and other cooking equipment kept clean and free of grease?
- Are curtains near stoves arranged to prevent their blowing over the burners or flames?
- Are members of the family forbidden to start fires in stoves or fireplaces with kerosene or other flammable liquids?
- Do you always see that your portable space heater is placed well away from curtains, drapes, furniture, etc.?
- Are all of your electrical appliances including irons, mixers, heaters, lamps, fans, radios, television sets, and other devices "UL" listed?
- Do all rooms have an adequate number of outlets to take care of electrical appliances?
- Have you done away with all multiple attachment plugs?
- Are all flexible electrical extension and lamp cords in your home in the open? ( None placed under rugs, over hooks, through partitions or door openings)
- Do you keep matches in a metal container away from heat and away from children?
- Do you extinguish all matches, cigarettes, and cigar butts carefully before disposing of them?
- Do you see to it that there are plenty of noncombustible ash trays in all rooms throughout the house?
- Are all members of the family instructed not to smoke in bed?
- Do you know that the number to the New Paltz Fire Department is 911?
- Do you have a home escape plan in case of a fire?
- Do you hold home fire drills at least once a month?
- When you employ babysitters, do you instruct them what to do in case of a fire?
- Did your entire family take part in completing this checklist?
- Do you at least have a smoke detector on every level of your home, and within 15 feet of your bedrooms?
Winter Fire Safety Tips for the Home
Space heaters and heating stoves are used throughout the nation to increase the warmth in rooms. They do the job but can be dangerous. In order to use them safely, follow these guidelines.
- Never use a fuel burning appliance without proper vents to the outside. Burning fuel (kerosene, coal or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes.
- Be sure your heater is in good working condition. All room heaters need frequent checkups and cleaning. A dirty or neglected heater is a critical fire hazard.
- Use only the proper fuel for each heater. Never introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that fuel.
- Never quicken a fire with kerosene or gasoline.
- Keep gasoline or other flammable liquids stored outside of the home at all times.
- Maintain adequate clearance in all directions around space heaters and heating stoves. (Surrounding surfaces should not become too hot for your bare hand.) Three feet is the minimum.
- Use a screen around stoves or space heaters which have open flames. Give the heater adequate clearance from walls and combustibles such as clothes racks, curtains, beds, or other furniture.
- If you use an electric heater, be sure your house wiring is adequate. Avoid overloading the circuit and overloading extension cords.
- Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms and certainly do not touch one when you're wet.
- Avoid the use of Kerosene Heaters.
- When refueling an oil unit, don't overfill it. If cold fuel is used, it will expand as it warms up inside your home and may cause burner-flooding; this could cause flare-ups. Don't fill your heater while it is burning.
- Keep young children away from space heaters-particularly when they are wearing nightgowns. The nightgowns can be sucked in by a draft created by the heater and ignited.
- If you are using an approved, UL labeled space heater or heating stove in your bedroom, turn off your heater or turn it low before going to bed. When using a fuel burning heater in the bedroom, open the window. Ventilation prevents suffocation that can be caused by a heater consuming oxygen.
- Use ONLY safety listed equipment. If you choose an oil heater, look for the UL label; a gas appliance, the AGA or UL label; or an electric heater, the UL label.
When temperatures inside are kept down, a crackling fire in the fireplace is a cozy and cheery way to keep warm but these fires, if not carefully tended, could cause tragedy. To use them safely, follow these guidelines:
- Do not use flammable liquids to start the fire.
- Keep a metal screen in front of your fireplace. Flying embers can start fires.
- Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite soot in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never burn charcoal in your fireplace, in a charcoal broiler or in a hibachi unit inside your home. Burning charcoal gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel. A spark from your fireplace fire could ignite these materials and cause a fire.
- When you go to bed, be sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can help hot ashes build up heat to the point where a fire could flare up and ignite the room while you are asleep.
- If your fireplace hasn't been used for some time, have it and the chimney checked before using.
- Follow the directions on the package if you use man-made logs. Never break a man-made log apart to quicken the fire.
It's important that you have your furnace checked out and cleaned regularly, and that it be in good working condition. Furnace fire safety tips need to be observed all year round. Some things you should know:
- Be sure all furnace automatic controls and emergency shutoffs are in good condition.
- Leave furnace work to experts. Don't attempt repairs unless you are qualified.
- Have the repair man check the wall and ceiling near the furnace and flue. If they are hot, additional insulation or clearance may be needed.
- Check the flue pipes. Are they well supported? Free of holes and clean?
- Is the chimney solid? No cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry. Are they?
- Keep trash and combustible storage away from the heating system.
- Don't store hot ashes in the home; take them outside immediately.
- Never use a gas range or an oven to heat your kitchen. Any un-vented fuel burning appliance is capable of producing deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
- Don't leave lit oven doors open. Children could burn themselves on the heating elements.
Detection and Escape
All homes, condominiums, and apartment residences (including hotel rooms) are required by law to have smoke detectors installed. Install a smoke detector outside the bedroom areas on the ceiling and on every living area of your home. Have a fire escape plan and have the entire family practice it. If windows are emergency exits in your home, train your family to use them in case a fire should strike and see that the storm windows open easily. Plan a meeting place outside for all family members to meet after practicing your drill. This will help to ensure that everyone has escaped the building safely.
Frozen pipes? Don't try to thaw them with a blowtorch or other open flames. Use hot water or a UL labeled device for thawing; otherwise a fire could be the result. Is there a fire hydrant outside of your home? If there should be a fire, firefighters need to be able to hook their hose up to that hydrant. Shovel the snow away from the hydrant. It may save your home or that of your neighbors.
If a Fire Strikes, Sound the Alarm, Leave the Building Quickly, and Stay Outside.
Notify the Fire Department by Dialing 911 and Say
"I Want to Report A Fire."
After the Fire
Recovering from a fire may take a long time and many of the things you have to do will be new to you.
If you are not insured, your recovery from a fire loss most likely will be dependent upon your own resources. Private organizations that can help include the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. You also could talk with your church or synagogue. Local civic groups such as the Lions or Rotary Clubs also can be of help.
- Insurance Information
- Valuing Your Property
- Adjusting the Loss
- Replacement of Valuable Documents and Records
- Salvage Hints
If you are insured, your insurance will be the most important single component in recovering from a fire loss. A number of coverages are available such as - homeowner's, tenant's or condominium owner's insurance policies.
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer. The insurer promises to do certain things for you. In turn, you have certain obligations. Among your duties after a fire loss would be to give immediate notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer's agent.
Protect the property from further damage by making sensible or necessary repairs such as covering holes in the roof or walls. Take reasonable precautions against loss, such as draining water lines in winter if the house will be unheated for some time. The insurance company may refuse to pay losses that occur from not taking such reasonable care.
Make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate and replacement cost.
Cooperate with the insurer or his/her adjuster by exhibiting the damaged property.
Submit, within a stated time period (usually 30 - 60 days), a formal statement of loss. Such a statement should include:
- The time and cause of loss
- The names and addresses of those who have an interest in the property. These might include the mortgage holder, a separated or divorced spouse or a lien holder.
- Building plans and specifications of the original home and a detailed estimate for repairs.
- The damage inventory mentioned above.
- Receipts for additional living expenses and loss of use claims.
Valuing Your Property
A pre-fire inventory along with a videotape of all your property could prove to be a valuable record when making your claim.
When adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your Federal income tax, you will have to deal with various viewpoints on the value of your property. Some terms used are listed below:
Your "personal valuation" is your attachment to and personal valuation of your property lost in a fire. Personal items have a certain sentimental value. This term is not meant to belittle their value to you but is used to separate feelings about the value from objective measures of value. It will be objective measures of value which you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground.
- The "cost when purchased" is an important element in establishing an item's final value. Receipts will help verify the cost price
- Fair market value before the fire also is expressed as "actual cash value." This is what you could have gotten for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire. Its price would reflect its cost at purchase and the wear it had sustained since then. Depreciation is the formal term to express the amount of value an item loses over a period of time.
- "Value after the fire" is sometimes called the item's "salvage value."
- The cost to replace the item with a like, but not necessarily identical, item is the replacement cost.
Adjusting the Loss
"Loss adjustment" is the process of establishing the value of the damaged property. This is the result of a joint effort among a number of parties. Basic parties to the process are the owner or occupant and the insurance company and its representatives.
The owner or occupant is required by the insurance contract to prepare an inventory and cooperate in the loss valuation process. An insurance agent may act as the adjuster if the loss is small. The insurer may send an adjuster who is a permanent member of the insurer's staff, or the company may hire an independent adjuster to act in its behalf. It is the insurance adjuster's job, as a representative of the insurance company, to monitor and assist in the loss valuation process and to bring the loss to a just and equitable settlement.
Either you or the insurer may hire the services of a fire damage restoration firm or fire damage service company. These firms provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following:
- Securing the site against further damage
- Estimating structural damage
- Repairing structural damage
- Estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property
- Packing, transportation, and storage of household items
- Securing appropriate cleaning or repair subcontractors
- Storing repaired items until needed
It is important to coordinate with the insurance adjuster before contracting for any services. If you invade the insurer's responsibility area by contracting without its knowledge or consent, you may be left with bills to pay that otherwise would have been covered by the insurer.
Replacement of Valuable Documents and Records
Item Who to Contact Driver's license Local department of motor vehicles
Bank books Your bank, as soon as possible
Insurance policies Your insurance agent
Military discharge papers Local Veterans Administration
Passports Local passport office
Birth, death, marriage State Bureau of Records in the state
certificates of birth, death or marriage
Divorce papers Circuit Court where decree was issued
Social Security or Local Social Security Office
Credit Cards The issuing companies, as soon as possible
Titles to deeds Records department of city or county
in which the property is located
Stocks and bonds Issuing company or your broker
Wills Your lawyer
Medical records Your doctor
Warranties Issuing company
Income tax records The Internal Revenue Service Center
where filed or your accountant
Auto registration title Department of Motor Vehicles
Citizenship papers The U.S. Immigration and
Prepaid burial contracts Issuing company
Animal registration papers Society of registry
- Clothing - Smoke odor and soot sometimes can be washed from clothing. The following formula often will work for clothing that can be bleached:4-6 tbsp. of Tri-Sodium Phosphate
l cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
l gallon warm water
Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water and dry well.
Be aware that Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using it. Read the label carefully. To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
- Cooking Utensils - Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner. You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.
- Electrical Appliances - Appliances that have been exposed to water or steam should not be used until you have a service representative check them. This is especially true of electrical appliances. In addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving parts. If the fire department turned off your gas or power during the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these services - DO NOT TRY TO DO IT YOURSELF.
- Food - Wash your canned goods in detergent and water. Do the same for food in jars. If labels come off, be sure you mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil. Do not use canned goods when cans have bulged or are dented or rusted.
- If your home freezer has stopped running, you still can save the frozen food. Keep the freezer closed. Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day - perhaps for as many as two or three days. Move your food to a neighbor's freezer or a rented locker. Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets or use insulated boxes. Do not re-freeze food that has thawed.
- To remove odor from your refrigerator or freezer, wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. Some baking soda in an open container, or a piece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.
- Flooring and Rugs - When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odors and warp the wood floor. If this happens, remove the entire sheet. If the linoleum is brittle, a heat lamp will soften it so it can be rolled up without breaking. If carefully removed, it can be re-cemented after the floor has completely dried. Small blisters in linoleum can be punctured with a nail and re-cemented if you are careful. Dilute regular linoleum paste thin enough to go through a hand syringe and shoot adhesive through the nail hole. Weigh down the linoleum with bricks or boards. It usually is possible to cement loose tiles of any type. Wait until the floor is completely dry before beginning.
Rugs and carpets also should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw rugs then can be cleaned by beating, sweeping or vacuuming, and then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible. Lay them flat, and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly rot a rug. For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or qualified carpet cleaning professional.
- Mattresses and Pillows - Reconditioning an innerspring mattress at home is very difficult, if not impossible. Your mattress may be able to be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses. If you must use your mattress temporarily, put it out into the sun to dry. Then cover it with rubber or plastic sheeting. It is almost impossible to get smoke odor out of pillows. The feathers and foam retain the odor.
- Leather and Books - Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspapers to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. You can use steel wool or a suede brush on suede. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold weather and dry away from heat and sun.
Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible. The best methods to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.
If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.
- Locks and Hinges - Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene and oiled. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges also should be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
- Walls and Furniture - To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, mix together:4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
1 gallon warm water
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. After washing the article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly.
Walls may be washed down while wet. Use a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not repaint until the walls and ceilings are completely dry.
Wallpaper also can be repaired. Use a commercial paste to repaste loose edges or sections. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking. Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape. Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution. You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff. Remove the drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them. Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to dry thoroughly. Open doors and windows for good ventilation. Turn on your furnace or air conditioner, if necessary. If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water. To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with wax, or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil. Be careful because turpentine is combustible.
- Money Replacement - Handle burned money as little as possible. Attempt to encase each bill or portion of a bill in plastic wrap for preservation. If money is only half-burned or less (if half or more of the bill is intact), you can take the remainder to your local Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. Ask your personal bank for the nearest one. Or you can mail the burned or torn money via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
U.S. Treasury Department
Main Treasury Building, Room 1123
Washington, D.C. 20220
Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank, or mailed via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
Superintendent, U.S. Assay Office
32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005
If your U.S. Savings Bonds have been mutilated or destroyed, write to:
U.S. Treasury Department
Bureau of Public Debt
Division of Loans and Currency
Chicago, IL 60605
Attn: Bond Consultant
Include name(s) on bonds, approximate date or time period when purchased, denominations and approximate number of each.
There are three types of grills on the market.
- Propane gas grills which use propane tanks.
- Natural gas grills which use gas piped in from your house.
- CAUTION: These two types of grills are not interchangeable. Make sure all fittings are tight, and there is adequate ventilation.
- Charcoal grills which use charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.
Ten Safety Tips
- Read all instructions before using your grill. Note safety, operation and handling instructions.
- Clean grill thoroughly before and after using. This is to avoid grease build up that can cause flare-ups and/or fire. NEVER put lighter fluid directly on flames!
- Keep all grilling activities away from buildings, houses and garages.
- Use all grills outdoors. Never grill inside houses, garages or on wooden porches.
- Store all lighting fluids away from children.
- Have a multipurpose A-B-C fire extinguisher, a garden hose, bucket of water or sand nearby.
- Keep all children and pets away from grilling area (at least 5 feet in all directions).
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Use proper grilling utensils for safe handling.
- Use only fluids recommended for charcoal grilling, and dispose of charcoal properly in a metal container dowsed with water. Check cooking area for proper extinguishment.
Space Heater Safety Tips
WHILE SPACE HEATERS ARE LEGAL AND WIDELY USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE HEAT SOURCE, THE NEW PALTZ FIRE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT RECOMMEND THEIR USE BECAUSE THEY CAN POSE CERTAIN HAZARDS. IF YOU HAVE A SPACE HEATER, OR ARE CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE OF A SPACE HEATER, THE NEW PALTZ FIRE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION VITAL TO YOUR SAFETY.
- Always make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
- Never use fuel burning appliances without proper ventilation. Burning fuel (kerosene, coal, or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes.
- Be sure your space heater is in good working condition. All space heaters need frequent checkups and cleaning. A dirty or neglected heater is a critical fire hazard.
- Use only the proper fuel for each heater. Never introduce a fuel into a heating unit not designed for that unit.
- Store kerosene, gasoline or other flammable liquids outside the home at all times.
- Use an approved safety can for the storing of flammable liquids.
- Maintain adequate clearance in all directions around space heaters. Give the heater adequate clearance - 3 feet is the minimum - from walls and combustibles, such as clothes, curtains, beds or other furniture.
- Never leave children unsupervised in a room with a space heater.
- Keep young children away from space heaters, particularly when they are wearing nightgowns which can be drawn into the heater by a draft and ignited.
- If you use an electric heater, be sure your house wiring is adequate. Avoid overloading the circuit. Avoid using extension cords. Use an approved power strip with a built-in circuit breaker.
- Never cover a heater's cord with carpeting or furniture. This could cause the cord to overheat and start a fire.
- Avoid using electric space heaters in the bathroom. Never touch an electric heater when you are wet.
- When refueling a kerosene heater, avoid overfilling it. If cold kerosene is used, it will expand as it warms up inside your home and may cause burner flooding. This could cause flare ups.
- Never fill your kerosene heater while it is burning.
- Turn off your heater or turn it on low before going to bed.
- When using a fuel burning heater, open a window to provide adequate ventilation.
- Use only safety listed equipment. Space heaters should be labeled with U.L. or A.G.A certification.
PROPANE FUELED SPACE HEATERS ARE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. THE USE OF PROPANE FUELED SPACE HEATERS IN ANY RESIDENCE SHOULD BE PROHIBITED.
Kerosene Heater Safety Tips
While some kerosene heaters are currently legal, the New Paltz Fire Department DOES NOT RECOMMEND their use based upon incidence of fire and potential fire hazards.
- Purchasing Tips
- How to Correctly Operate your Kerosene Heater
- Detection and Escape
- Buy a modern heater that has been tested and approved by one or more of the recognized testing agencies such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM). Make sure that the dealer demonstrates it for you. Also make sure that the dealer can service the heater and has parts readily available. The heater is only as good as the service and repair it receives.
- The heater should have low center of gravity to make accidental tip overs unlikely.
- Heaters must have a safety shutoff device which automatically snuffs out the flame if the heater is tipped. Ask your dealer to demonstrate what happens if the heater is tipped over.
- A fuel gauge should be provided to prevent overfilling or unnecessary refilling. A siphon pump provided by the kerosene heater dealer will help prevent accidental fueling spills.
- When purchasing a kerosene heater, check with the dealer for the BTU rating which is the appropriately sized unit for the area you wish to heat.
How to Correctly Operate your Kerosene Heater
- Read and follow the manufacturer's directions for correct operation and maintenance of the heater. Keep the instruction booklet available for future reference.
- Use only Grade K-1 kerosene. It should be as clear as water. Yellow or colored kerosene will smoke, emit unpleasant odors, and damage the operation of the wick on the heater.
- Never use additives designed to purify kerosene. These additives have not been proved effective, and in fact in many cases they are highly flammable and dangerous liquids.
- Never use gasoline, camp stove fuel or other flammable liquids in your kerosene heater.
- Kerosene should be stored in a vented metal container with a tight fitting lid. It should be clearly marked FOR KEROSENE USE ONLY. Never use a red container or any container that has had a flammable liquid in it. For safe storage, never keep kerosene near any source of heat or ignition.
- Provide adequate ventilation. This can be done either by opening a door to an adjacent room or by leaving a window open.
- Place the heater away from curtains, furniture and other combustibles. Make sure that it is not blocking an exit or walkway.
- Kerosene heater surfaces are very hot. Severe burns will occur if these surfaces are touched. Keep small children away from the heater and instruct them not to touch the controls.
- Since kerosene heaters have an open flame, do not use flammable solvents, lacquers, aerosol sprays or gasoline in the same room.
- When turning the heater off, make sure the flame is extinguished before leaving the area or retiring for the night. NEVER leave a heater 'on' while unattended.
- Refill the heater outside when the unit is cool. Use a siphon pump to prevent spillage. NEVER refuel heater while it is burning.
The majority of fires and casualties relating to kerosene heaters have resulted from the abuse and misuse of the heater by the operator. Make sure to retain the manufacturer's instructions and these safety tips, and review this information before each heating season and from time to time during the season.
Detection and Escape
- Install a smoke detector outside the bedroom areas on the ceiling and on every level of your home.
- Have a fire escape plan and have the whole family practice it.
- If a fire should start, GET OUT AND STAY OUT, call 911 from your neighbor's house
Home Safety Hazards
A study was performed by The Home Safety Council to determine the most common types of injuries found in homes and who was most likely to be injured in these scenarios. Although their are thousands of ways to injure ones self at home, The Home Safety Council picked the top 5.
People with the highest rate of injury are children and older adults.
- Choking and Suffocation
The simplest of hazards ends up being one of the worst. And as you would suspect, falls are worse for young children and older adults. Very few deaths from falls occur in adults under 60. For children, the most severe falls are general associated with three products: baby walkers, windows, and play equipment including trampolines. Falls down stairs have been implicated in 75% -96% of baby walker-related falls.
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent people in your home from falling:
- Put window guards on all windows. New regulations and free window guard programs in New York City have resulted in a 50% reduction in falls and 35% reduction in deaths.
- Put soft, protective surfaces under play equipment.
- Pay special attention to staircases. Make sure that they have handrails, are well lighted, do not have any loose carpeting, and are always clear of toys and other items.
- Use safety gates both at the top and bottom of staircases if children are in the house.
- If you have a dark basement, install a light on the staircase and paint your bottom step a bright color to make it more visible.
- Always clear outdoor steps of ice and snow as soon as possible.
- Look out for pets: According to the Center for Disease Control, Pets cause more than 86,000 fall-related injuries each year.
- Make your shower safe: use non-slip rubber mats and install extra rails or grab bars if necessary. Also, make sure that the existing rails and other supports are in good condition and can support your weight.
- Make sure that you always use (and have!) sturdy step stools when getting things in the kitchen or out of closets.
- Do not allow children under six years old to climb on bunk beds.
- If you have small children, install locks on all cabinets and drawers so that they won't be able to climb them.
- Require children who are riding skateboards or bikes on your property to always wear approved helmets.
While we mostly think of poisoning as something that happens to children when they get into cleaning supplies and other household products, it's something that actually affects people of all ages. You would probably be surprised to hear that most unintentional deaths by poisoning in the home are due to the following:
- Appetite depressants
- Anesthetics like cocaine
- Also, amphetamines, caffeine, antidepressants, alcohol, and motor vehicle exhaust gas.
Most of these methods of unintentional poisoning are for the most part self-inflicted and can only resolved by dealing with a person's underlying chemical dependency issues. That said, effective prevention efforts generally focus on keeping poison out of the hands of children. While adults have the highest rates of fatal poisonings, children under 5 have the largest rates of non-fatal poisoning.
Here are some of the things that children are most often poisoned by:
- Household and cleaning products
- Personal care and beauty products
- Carbon monoxide
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent accidental poisonings in your home:
- Place your chemicals high up on shelves rather than down low under kitchen and bathroom sinks where people commonly put them. If possible, store them out in a garden shed outside of the house.
- If you have to put chemicals in low cabinets, use baby proof locks and be sure that you can properly close the doors.
- Never put household cleaners in old drink bottles or food containers that might confuse a child.
- Get children and pets out of a room before you use pesticides or other chemicals.
- Always close the packaging on a medication or chemical if you are interrupted by the phone or the doorbell. Many poisonings happen when an adult leaves the room for a minute.
- Don't trust that childproof packaging on medications will keep children safe. The best defense is to keep the medications out of children's hands in the first place.
- Don't (obviously) store medications on easy to reach tables or counter tops.
- Be aware of where all of the medications in your home are, especially if you have visitors who might leave them in an open purse or bag.
- Get rid of any old watch type batteries as children can easily swallow them. Consider getting rid of any toys or gadgets that use them.
What should you do if someone does get poisoned?
Call your doctor and poison control (1-800-222-1222) immediately!
As with poisonings and falls, the death rate is highest amongst senior citizens and children under the age of five noticing a pattern here?
And while you may just be thinking that burns just come from open flames, a huge percentage of burns are actually caused by hot water.
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent fires and burns in your home:
- Most people have their water heater at a much higher temperature than necessary. If the temperature is so high that a child (or adult) can be burned when simply washing his or her hands it's on too high. Keep your water heater at a low temperature of 120 degrees.
- Use the back burners on the stove when possible. Children can't reach them and there's less of a chance of a hot pot getting knocked off of the stove.
- Keep candles and other open flames out of reach of children.
- According to Meri-K Appy, the president of the Home Safety Council, Cooking mishaps are the number one cause of fires [and they often happen] when the cook leaves the stove unattended or becomes distracted. That said, stay focused in the kitchen and never walk away from a pot that is in use.
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home. Half of the fire related deaths occurred in the 5% of homes that don't have fire alarms.
- Regularly test the batteries in your smoke alarm to be sure that it works. Of homes that have smoke alarms, 65% of the homes have non-working alarms. Most often this is simply because of a worn out battery.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
- Keep clothes irons and curling irons out of reach of children and don't balance them precariously on counters or ironing boards. Teach children that irons and curling irons can remain hot even after they have been unplugged.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet away from flammable things like curtains and clothing.
- Regularly clean chimneys and dryer exhausts as buildup in both can cause fires.
- Don't cook and hold a small baby or child at the same time.
- Don't eat or drink anything hot while a baby or small child is sitting on your lap.
What to do if there is a fire?
For kitchen fires: Always keep the pot lid handy. In the event of a fire, pop the lid back on the pot (or use a cookie sheet) to prevent the fire from spreading. Baking soda is also effective in stopping a fire (it deprives the fire of oxygen).
For whole house fires: Have an escape plan and discuss it with everyone who lives there. Choose a meeting spot outside of the home so that you can meet up and be sure that everyone has made it out safely.
How to treat a burn
If it is a first-degree burn where only the first layer of skin has been affected, do the following:
- Hold it under cool water or place it in cool water for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling. Do not ice it.
- Loosely wrap the wound in a sterile gauze bandage.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication if necessary.
For all other burns, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
Choking & Suffocation
he three main types of obstructed airway injuries are:
Suffocation: when the nose and mouth are obstructed by an external item like a plastic bag.
Because they have limited mobility, infants are at a huge risk for suffocation. 60% of infant suffocation occurs in beds and cribs when an infant's face becomes buried in soft bedding or a pillow or an adult rolls on top of them.
Choking: when something blocks the airways internally.
This is usually from bits of food or parts of toys. Children, who don't always chew their food properly, are especially at risk for choking on small, round foods that perfectly block the airway.
Strangulation: when there is some sort of external compression around the airway from an object like the chord from a blind.
Children easily get things wrapped around their necks like drawstrings, ribbons, necklaces, pacifier strings, and window blind cords. An average of one child a month dies due to strangulation from a window chord.
Children can also easily become strangled by openings that trap their heads like spaces in furniture, cribs, playground equipment, and strollers.
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent choking and suffocation in your home:
- Don't place an infant facedown on a soft surface like a waterbed, comforter, or pillow or on a mattress that is covered in plastic.
- Keep your infant's crib free of soft items like blankets, pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals.
- Purchase a crib mattress that fits snugly without any spaces on the sides where your baby can get stuck. Also, make sure that the sheets fit the mattress snugly and won't get wrapped around your baby's head.
- An infant should not sleep in an adult's bed, especially if adults are in it. Infants should also not sleep in the same bed as other children.
- Make sure that crib bars are spaced so that a child cannot get his or her head stuck in-between them.
- Infants should also not sleep on couches, chairs, or other soft surfaces.
- Keep all plastic bags out of reach of children. That includes shopping bags, sandwich bags, and dry cleaning bags.
- Keep uninflated balloons out of reach of young children and dispose of the pieces if they break.
- Put child resistant locks on any airtight spaces that a child could climb into like a freezer.
- Have kids sit and chew their food thoroughly when eating so that they are less likely to swallow food whole.
- During adult parties, make sure that nuts and other foods are quickly cleaned up and inaccessible.
- Make sure that kids under four don't have access to hard, smooth foods that can block their airway like nuts, sunflower seeds, cherries, raw carrots, popcorn, etc.. Also be careful with soft foods like cheese cubes, hot dogs, and grapes. Make sure to always cut them into small pieces.
- Regularly, get down on your hands and knees to inspect play areas for small choking hazards that are within grabbing range like pieces of toys, coins, balloons, balls, batteries, jewelry, etc.. Also check in couch cushions.
- Frequently check toys for loose or broken parts.
- Make sure that all window treatment cords are tied down and that the ends are cut so that they do not end in a loop. Better yet, replace them with cordless designs.
- Don't put necklaces or headbands on your infant.
- Cut all drawstrings out of your child's hoods, jackets, waistbands, etc..
- Don't leave babies unattended in strollers as they can become tangled in the straps and strangle themselves.
- Make sure that an infant child cannot get his or her head stuck between the slats of their crib. Also make sure that mattress and bedding fits snugly.
- Never tie a pacifier around your baby's neck or otherwise attach it to their clothing.
- Don't hang things like bags or purses on a crib.
- Always remove your infant's bib after mealtimes.
While most drownings don't occur in the home, of those that do, 80% involve children ages 4 and under and most of these occur in swimming pools and bathtubs. Still, drownings are the fifth leading cause of home injury death in the US.
A few interesting facts about home drownings:
- One third of unintentional home drownings occur in bathtubs and almost half occur in other locations including swimming pools.
- More than half of all drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs. Another 12% of drowning in this age group occurs in buckets.
- More than half of drownings among children ages 1 to 4 are pool related.
- Most children who drown in swimming pools had been missing from their parent's sight for less than five minutes.
As far as pools go, the only solution that has proven effective in preventing the drowning of young children is four-sided fencing around the pool. That fencing should also include a self-closing and self-latching gate or door.
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent drowning in your home:
- Keep the gated fence that protects your swim area locked at all times so that children and others won't accidentally fall into the water.
- Make sure all drain covers are intact and in place every time you use your pool. The powerful suction in the swimming-pool drain can keep even strong adults underwater. Hair and bathing suits on children can get caught in the drain causing them to be pulled under. If a cover is broken or missing, replace it before allowing anyone in.
- Never leave a baby alone in a bathtub for any amount of time. Also never leave young children alone in a tub.
- Keep your toilet lid down and keep young children out of the bathroom unsupervised.
- Do not keep open containers in the yard or around the house that can fill with water.
- Keep hot tubs covered and make sure that the cover stays in place.
- Refrain from using prescription drugs and alcohol when using bathtubs or swimming pools. Closely monitor any adults who are using prescription drugs or alcohol and insist on getting in a pool or bathtub.
Courtesy of AFD and MortgageLoan.com