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Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors

East River Energy would like to remind residents of the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the home.

While there are many different brands of smoke alarms for sale, they are of two basic types: ionization or photoelectric. Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast-moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. Some units on the market combine both technologies and are called dual sensor smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms can be purchased locally at a variety of stores. Some are intended to be "hard wired" into the electrical system in the house (a qualified electrician should do this work). Some units are battery powered, requiring only a screwdriver for installation. The manufacturer's instructions for installation should be followed carefully. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and if they have batteries, those should be replaced annually.

Smoke alarms should be located on every level of your home, including the basement. For extra safety you may want to install alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless toxic gas that comes from gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, space heaters and cars.

The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the "flu" but without the usual fever. They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. A victim's skin may appear red in color. Because it cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, it can kill people before they know it is present in their dwelling.

It is recommended that a CO alarm with an audible warning signal be installed near the sleeping areas of your home and outside of individual bedrooms. Buy an alarm that has been tested by a nationally recognized testing lab such as Underwriters' Laboratories (UL). Follow the manufactures instructions for installation and testing.

A few simple precautions can also reduce the chance of accidental exposure to CO:

  • Have a qualified professional check all fuel-burning appliances, furnaces, chimneys and venting systems in your home at least once a year.
  • Never use your oven or range to heat you home, and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi inside your house or garage.
  • Never keep a car running in your garage, even with the garage doors open.
  • If your running a portable generator it should be OUTSIDE away from the house to prevent CO from entering your residence.
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