Smoke Detectors | Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are life-saving devices which should be installed in every home! The following are some frequently asked questions about smoke detectors:

1. How many smoke detectors do I need in my home?
A minimum of one (1) detector is needed on every level and one (1) in every bedroom.

2. Where do I install smoke detectors in my home?
You must refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

3. My smoke detector keeps going off and there's no smoke or fire. What's wrong?
Cooking vapors and steam sometimes set off a smoke detector. Try moving the detector farther from the kitchen or bathroom. Replace the battery if the detector is chirping.

4. Does my smoke detector require any care or maintenance?
Refer to manufacturer's instrctions for proper care and maintenance.


What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas produced as a by-product of combustion from items such as fuel burning appliances (i.e. non-electric furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves, dryers, or water heaters, charcoal grills), automobiles, and gasoline powered tools (i.e. lawnmowers, snow blowers).
Carbon monoxide poisonings typically occur when appliances are improperly used or malfunctioning and there is a limited amount of fresh airflow to ventilate the gas build up. Regular maintenance and inspections of gas burning equipment in the home can minimize the potential for life threatening CO buildup or exposure to occur; however the potential always exists.

Where should CO detectors be installed?
You must refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

What are the causes of a CO detector alarm activation?
There are many conditions that can cause a carbon monoxide detector to alarm. Most are preventable and few are actually life threatening. Common causes of preventable activations include: inadequate fresh air venting of the home, running gas powered equipment in the home or garage, charcoal grilling in the home or garage (including your automobile,) malfunctioning appliances or equipment in the home, a generator or kerosene heater running in a home, or a malfunctioning or overly sensitive alarm. Non-preventable or unpredicted causes may include, but not be limited to: cracked furnace heat exchanger, malfunctioning furnace, water heater, or other gas appliance, blocked chimney, vehicle left running in a garage, or a gas powered device placed near a fresh air vent to the home.
When a CO detector alarm activates…
1. Stay calm!
2. Assess health and wellbeing of anyone in the household. Flu-like symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue or nausea are the most common early symptoms to CO exposure.

> If there is illness, evacuate the premises immediately, go to a safe place, and have someone call 911. Be sure everyone (including pets) is out of the house and the doors are closed. (Closing the doors allows fire department personnel to monitor for the presence or levels of CO before ventilating.)
> If no illness is present, likelihood of a serious exposure is diminished.

3. If no illness is present, it is still important to have the source of the alarm activation investigated. You should dial 911 or contact Niagara Mohawk and advised them that your alarm has activated, but no one is ill. Do not open any windows or doors so that when monitoring personnel arrive, they will be able to quickly check your house, verify if there is a problem and locate the source. Very often the failure of an appliance is a gradual event. This failure may produce low levels of carbon monoxide. If gone unchecked, the failure may become worse and reach life-threatening levels.

Calling 911 …
If you call 911 for a carbon monoxide alarm activation, be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your telephone number
- Whether or not anyone is ill with the "flu-like" symptoms previously described
- Whether or not the residence has been vacated
… and be sure to follow any emergency instructions you may be given by the emergency dispatcher.

Based on the information you provide, appropriate emergency response personnel will be dispatched to your location; fire department personnel to monitor for CO gas and advise if a carbon monoxide problem exists, emergency medical personnel to treat any victims, and law enforcement personnel to assist with evacuation if needed.

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