Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

No matter the time of year, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning pose serious health threats in homes across the nation. However, the upcoming winter season only increases the risk because homeowners start running furnaces, boilers, fireplaces and stoves. People rely on these forms of heat every day to stay warm, but they can also stay safe by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house.

Smoke & CO Detectors - Aurora IL - Pozzi ChimneyIf an unintentional fire starts somewhere in the house, inhabitants likely have a few precious minutes at most to escape the burning building. To further improve the chances of escape, the home should be equipped with working smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside the sleeping area, and on each level of the house. Test each smoke detector every month and replace them completely every 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association has found that having working smoke alarms in the house doubles your chances of survival in a reported house fire.

Carbon monoxide may be even more sinister than a house fire because, at least with a fire, you can tell there is an emergency. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, leaving your body incapable of recognizing its presence prior to signs of being poisoned. For this reason, carbon monoxide detectors must be spread throughout the home and kept updated.

Carbon monoxide gas results from any type of burning. Thus, if the chimney does not vent properly, your wood-burning fireplace could potentially fill the house with carbon monoxide. If your gas-powered furnace has a hole in the fire chamber, you may be breathing carbon monoxide. Even an act as innocuous as a propane lantern on the kitchen table during a power outage could have disastrous consequences.

The gas acts in a similar way to oxygen when inhaled, except that it blocks oxygen from traveling around the body. Therefore, the first signs of poisoning include lightheadedness, nausea and dizziness as the body begins to experience the lack of oxygen. Without fresh air to breathe within a few minutes, consciousness may be lost, followed by organ failure and death. In fact, with a high enough concentration of carbon monoxide in the air, you can lose consciousness in one minute.

The dangers of fire and carbon monoxide are real and very powerful. In addition to maintaining functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house, also educate your family about fire and carbon monoxide safety, especially the children. Devise a safety plan of what to do and where to go in case the alarms sound. These simple practices can save lives. If you have any questions about smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, contact your local fire department or Pozzi Chimney Sweep of Aurora, Illinois.