Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Have a SAFE Winter!

Buying or Selling a home can often cause for us all to allow for certain things to slip through the cracks, even important ones.  Whether you are new in your home, or have lived there for decades- it is important to maintain some priorities! One of those key things, that is overlooked much to often, is safety with fire and carbon monoxide.  New homes mean that you need to inventory, check and plan for safety equipment, including detectors, ladders and even a plan of action for exit and meeting.  This is especially important if you have you children, but honestly none of us should be ignoring it!

Most of us are pretty good about having smoke alarms, however how often we check them – could be a different story!  There are two types of smoke alarms, and it is typically recommended that both be in a home (or the combination version) – as they function differently and serve their own unique purpose.  Smoke detectors should be placed on all floors of your home – including in your basement and garage!  Always make sure that if they are battery operated, you are testing and changing the batteries as necessary – some new construction will have the alarms hard-wired into the house electrical system, but battery operated versions are more common.  In addition to your smoke detectors, it is also important that you have an emergency plan in place, and have discussed and reviewed it with your family.  Plan safe exits, meeting points, etc. to ensure that your family understands and can react if necessary in your new home.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are less common, and more expensive- than a regular smoke alarm.  However, since carbon monoxide is credited with being the leading agent in accidental deaths from poisoning, it is something that we should not take lightly.  As most know, carbon monoxide is a result of our appliances that burn fuel in order to function.  Furnaces, stoves, grills, fireplaces and dryers all produce carbon monoxide, with ranges being the most common producer due to the open flame.  However- it should be noted that most deaths and poisonings are a result of carbon monoxide from cars- if a car is running in an enclosed space, especially an attached garage, this can be particularly dangerous.  If your new home has an attached garage, be sure to practice smart behavior, and alert all of your driving-age family members- of the dangers that could result.  It can be easy and tempting, especially here in cold Northeast OHIO to want to start you car and warm it up indoors- but you simply just can’t.

The detectors for Carbon Monoxide can be purchased at any hardware store or big box DIY store- such as Lowes or Home Depot- and they function by measuring the amount of carbon monoxide that has accumulated over time.  Carbon monoxide can be dangerous if you are exposed to low levels over a long time, and also if you have high levels occurring quickly.  Read alarm information and packaging to pick the alarm that is best for you!  It is also important to remember that these detectors run using an electrical outlet- so if the power is out, the detector no longer serves its purpose.  This may also be another great reason to consider getting a back up power source, like a generator, if your new home is in an area that tends to have more frequent power outages.

Winter months mean we are running our furnaces more frequently, and also our fireplaces and warming up our cars!  These both increase fire and carbon monoxide risks- so take the right precautions and keep yourself and your family safe!

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