09 December 2009

Enjoy The Holidays, But Remember Fire And Carbon Monoxide Safety

Woodlands Online

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- Not having a working smoke detector can lead to a holiday tragedy, with increased numbers of fires due to cold weather and seasonal celebrations. On Monday, Dec. 7, at 1:15 PM, Firefighters from the New Caney, Splendora and Porter Fire Departments responded to a fire in a mobile home at The White Oaks Estates Community. Firefighters were able to quickly contain the fire, but not before smoke and heat damaged much of the home and it’s contents.

According to firefighters the cause of the fire was the family's natural Christmas tree. Investigator Roland Morgan determined that the fire started at the tree, which had only been in place a few days.There were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Although these types of fires are not common, they can be deadly under the right conditions. Between 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 250 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 14 deaths, 26 injuries, and $13.8 million in direct property damage annually. On average, one of every 18 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death.

Issaquah Press

As temperatures cool down, homeowners turn their thermostats up and ovens on. Consequently, the risk of carbon monoxide exposure also increases. In fact, from Thanksgiving until just after Christmas, carbon monoxide kills more people than any other time of year.You can’t smell it like natural gas, or see it like smoke. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that builds up in your house and can cause dizziness, nausea and even death. Still, nearly one-half of Americans report not having carbon monoxide alarms in their homes, according to a recent survey conducted by BRK brands, maker of First Alert-branded products.

For as little as $25, a carbon monoxide alarm can protect a home and family from potential tragedy. For maximum protection, the Home Safety Council recommends installing carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home and near each sleeping area.

The following safety products are available:

-Plug-in alarms that use electricity from any standard electrical outlet and have battery back-up start

-Battery-powered devices that provide basic protection

-Combo smoke/carbon monoxide detectors that help to protect from two dangers in the home

-Multi-gas alarms that provide protection from carbon monoxide as well as three explosive gases — natural, propane and methane

The kitchen stove is among the most common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Industry experts recommend running kitchen vents or exhaust fans anytime the stove is in use, but especially during the holidays when stoves often are left on for long periods of time. It also is a good idea to open a nearby window periodically when cooking to allow fresh air to circulate.

Homeowners also should arrange for a professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances (such as furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers, water heaters and space heaters) annually to detect any carbon monoxide leaks.

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