SMOKE DETECTOR / CARBON MONOXIDE ASSISTANCE
An essential safety feature for any home, smoke detectors, when properly installed and maintained, can double your chances of surviving a fire. One half of all home fire deaths occur in homes that do not have working smoke alarms. Also, while it is estimated that 94% of U.S. households have at least one smoke detector as many as one half may not be working because the batteries are dead or missing.
FOR ASSISTANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING:
Assistance with changing batteries
Installation of with same wiring harness connection.
If you live in the City of Tiffin, Clear Creek Township or Union Township and need assistance for your home please give us a call at 319-545-2572 or fill out the form below.
Selecting Smoke Alarms for Your Home
- Be sure to only use smoke alarms that carry the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some models of smoke detectors are designed to run on batteries while other "hard-wired" smoke alarms use household current as their primary source of power.
- If electrical wiring is not already provided in your home to accommodate hard-wired smoke alarms, battery-powered smoke detectors can be used. Battery-powered smoke alarms typically use 9-volt batteries as their source of power and can easily be installed by homeowners. Certain models of smoke alarms now also come with 10-year lithium batteries. These smoke alarms are highly reliable, tamper-resistant, and require little maintenance.
- If the required electrical wiring is provided in your home, hard-wired smoke alarms can be used. Hard-wired smoke alarms run on household current and should be installed by a qualified electrician. Certain hard-wired smoke alarms may use batteries as a back-up source of electricity during power outages. If your hard-wired smoke alarms do not have a battery backup, you may wish to install at least one battery-powered smoke alarm in the home for protection in the event that household current is interrupted.
- If you select a smoke alarm that plugs into a wall socket, be sure that the outlet is not connected to a light switch that could allow someone to accidentally turn off the power. Also, make sure that the plug has a restraining device to keep it from being accidentally disconnected.
Smoke alarms use two different types of sensor technologies:
- Ionization - Smoke alarms that use ionization technology react most quickly to open flaming fires such as paper or kitchen fires. Recent news reports have indicated concerns with the effectiveness of ionization detectors, which are typically less expensive than other types. The fire service community is evaluating this information so that we can address the issue and make appropriate recommendations.
- Photoelectric - Smoke alarms that use photoelectric technology react most quickly to smoldering, smoky fires (fires which smolder for hours before bursting into flame.) Sources of such fires might include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.
- Combination Ionization/Photoelectric Smoke Alarms - Certain models of smoke detectors incorporate both ionization and photoelectric technologies and provide early warning for both types of fires.
- Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms - Certain models of smoke alarms also function as carbon monoxide detectors. Remember that unless you purchase one of these special detectors, your regular smoke alarm will not alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your home.
Where to Install Smoke Alarms
- At a minimum, one smoke alarm should be installed on every level of your home including the basement and in or near every sleeping area. Follow all manufacturer's instructions and recommendations to ensure the proper installation and placement of your smoke alarms.
- Smoke alarms should be mounted high on a wall or on the ceiling. A wall-mounted detector should be positioned with the top of the detector 6-12 inches below the ceiling. A ceiling mounted alarm should be positioned at least four inches away from the nearest wall.
- For individuals who are difficult to awaken, it may be necessary to install a smoke alarm inside the bedroom.
- Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or forced-air registers where drafts can interfere with their operation. Moving air can blow smoke away from the alarm or result in false alarms.
- To avoid false alarms, install smoke alarms at least ten feet away from stoves, fireplaces, and steamy showers. In particular, smoke alarms installed too close to the kitchen frequently result in false alarms. Rather than removing the batteries from the alarm, try reinstalling it farther away from the kitchen but on the same level of your home.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
- Test smoke detectors monthly by pushing the "test" button or using other procedures recommended by the manufacturer.
- Install new batteries annually or whenever the smoke alarm makes a "chirping" sound. The chirping sound indicates that the battery in the smoke detector is nearly dead and needs to be replaced immediately.
- To help you remember to install new smoke alarm batteries annually, try changing the batteries every fall when you change your clocks back from daylight savings time.
- Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke detector. You might forget to replace it in a timely manner.
- Gently vacuum the outside of smoke detectors monthly to remove dust and cobwebs and to allow for proper airflow through the vent holes.
- Replace smoke alarms if they are more than ten years old.
Smoke Alarms for the Hearing Impaired
- Certain models of smoke alarms come equipped with a built-in strobe light (as well as an audible alarm) that can alert the hearing impaired in the event of a fire.
- Because the strobes used in such alarms generally require 120 Volts, most smoke alarms for the hearing impaired must run on household current rather than on batteries.
- For a list of manufacturers that distribute smoke alarms for the hearing impaired, please call the National Fire Protection Association's Center for High-Risk Outreach at 617.984.7826. For more information about smoke alarms, please call the City of Tiffin Fire Department, Fire Marshal, at 319.545.2572 Ext. 2203.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas created when fossil fuels (such as wood, oil, natural gas and kerosene) do not burn completely. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S. Since you can't see it, taste it or smell it, CO can kill you before you know it's there.
In the home, dangerous levels of CO can occur if fuel-burning appliances are not working properly or are used with inadequate ventilation. Some common sources of CO around the home include:
- Furnaces and water heaters that burn oil, propane, or natural gas
- Fireplaces and wood stoves
- Gas ranges and ovens
- Gas dryers
- Generators that run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas
- Space heaters that burn fuels (especially kerosene)
- Charcoal or gas grills
- Automobiles, motorcycles, mopeds and other motor vehicles
- Yard equipment with gasoline-powered engines (including lawn mowers, snow blowers, and chain saws)
Chimneys, flues, and vents (used with furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, etc.) also can cause dangerous levels of CO to build up if they are misused, poorly maintained, or otherwise fail to provide adequate ventilation for toxic gases.
Although anyone can suffer from CO poisoning, children and unborn babies, older people, and people with heart or lung diseases all are at greater risk from CO poisoning than other people. Also, if you have gas or oil heat, natural gas appliances, a fireplace, or an attached garage in your home your risk might be higher than individuals without such amenities.What are the Symptoms of CO Exposure?
The symptoms of CO exposure can vary greatly from one person to the next. The types of symptoms experienced, however, will generally depend on the concentration and length of the exposure as well as the general health of the person exposed. High concentrations of CO are dangerous for even brief periods. Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.
CO is an insidious poison that works by displacing oxygen in the bloodstream of the victim. Its symptoms often are mistaken for the flu or other illnesses. At low levels, symptoms of CO poisoning may include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Trouble breathing
- At high levels, loss of consciousness, coma, and death can occur within a short time.
If you or any member of your household experiences symptoms consistent with CO poisoning you should:
- Get fresh air immediately - Everyone should get out of the building at once. Do not go back inside until any problems have been identified and corrected.
- Call for help - Dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number from a nearby telephone.
- Seek medical attention right away - Get help even if you or others feel better after leaving your home. Blood or breath tests may be used to accurately diagnose CO poisoning.
- Have your home checked - Contact a qualified professional to inspect your home and correct any problems that may have resulted in an exposure to CO.
When properly installed and maintained, CO detectors can give you early warning of accumulating CO and provide an opportunity to escape before you experience symptoms or succumb to the poisonous gas. While many different models of CO detectors are available, we most highly recommend CO detectors that: 1) plug into a wall outlet, 2) have a battery backup, and 3) provide a digital display. Such detectors are easy to install, should function in the event of a power failure, and can provide useful information regarding concentrations of CO in the home.
As with smoke detectors, care should be taken in selecting and installing CO detectors in your home.
- Be sure to only use CO detectors that carry the label of an independent testing laboratory.
- Battery-powered CO detectors typically use 9-volt batteries as their source of power and can easily be installed by most homeowners. Certain models of CO detectors now also come with 5-year lithium batteries. These CO detectors are highly reliable and require less maintenance than other types of CO detectors.
- "Plug-in" CO detectors run on household current, and are easy installed by most homeowners. Certain plug-in CO detectors may use batteries as a back-up source of electricity during power outages. If your plug-in CO detector does not have a battery back up, you may wish to install at least one battery-powered CO detector in the home for protection in the event that household current is interrupted. Also, be sure that the outlet used is not connected to a light switch that could allow someone to accidentally turn off the power.
- If the required electrical wiring is provided in your home, hard-wired CO detectors can be used. Hard-wired CO detectors run on household current and should be installed by a qualified electrician. Certain hard-wired CO detectors may use batteries as a back-up source of electricity during power outages. If your hard-wired CO detector does not have a battery back up, you may wish to install another battery-powered CO detector in the home for protection in the event that household current is interrupted.
- For optimal safety, CO detectors can be installed on every level of the home. If, however, you are only going to have one CO detector, be sure to install it in or near the primary sleeping area of your residence. Placement of CO detectors near bedrooms is essential to ensure that they will be able to alert sleeping residents to the threat of accumulating CO. Follow all manufacturer's instructions and recommendations to ensure the proper installation and placement of your CO detectors.
- Combination Smoke/CO Detectors - Certain models of smoke detectors also function as CO detectors. Remember that unless you purchase one of these special detectors, your regular smoke detector will not alert you to the presence of CO in your home. Find out more about smoke detectors, please visit our Information About Smoke Detectors web page.
- State Code REQUIRES a Carbon Monoxide detector be installed on each level of a house.
If your CO alarm goes off always assume that it is a genuine emergency. Quickly take the following steps:
- Operate the reset button to temporarily quiet the alarm. Do not wait to see if the alarm sounds again.
- Immediately seek fresh air. Get everyone out of the building as soon as possible.
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number from a nearby telephone. Follow any instructions provided by the emergency operator.
- Don't go back in until any problems have been corrected.
With CO, prevention is always the best protection. By observing the following safety tips you can help keep you and your family safe from CO poisoning:
- When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select factory-built products approved by an independent testing laboratory. Do not accept damaged equipment. Have fuel-burning appliances installed by qualified professionals. Insist that all applicable fire safety and building codes are followed.
- Before enclosing central heating equipment in a small room, check with your fuel supplier to ensure that enough air is provided to support proper combustion.
- Maintain appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions. Have appliances checked regularly to ensure that they are working safely. Do not attempt repairs unless you have all the required training and tools.
- Have all fuel-burning household heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, wood stoves, and space heaters) inspected and cleaned each year before cold weather sets in. Make needed repairs before the equipment is used.
- Have all chimneys and chimney connectors checked and cleaned annually to ensure proper ventilation.
- When using a fireplace, be sure to open the flue completely to ensure adequate ventilation.
- Vent a gas range to the outside of your home. Crack a window and run the exhaust fan whenever you cook.
- Never use a gas range or oven to heat a room - even for just a short time.
- Due to significant hazards from both fire and CO poisoning, kerosene heaters are illegal in many jurisdictions. Always check with local authorities before buying or using a kerosene heater in your home. If you do use a kerosene heater, always remember to open a window slightly whenever fuel is burning. Also, be sure to refuel the heater outside, after the device has cooled.
- If you need to warm up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting the ignition. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if doors are open.
- Have your vehicle inspected for exhaust leaks, especially if you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning.
- Lawnmowers, snow blowers, chainsaws, and generators that run on fuel all produce CO. Start all such equipment outside and never leave it running in or near the home.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors, or in a garage, enclosed porch, tent or camper. Opening a door or window or running a fan may not be sufficient to keep CO from building up.
Finally, keep an eye out for any signs of a CO problem in your home. Such signs include:
- The buildup of soot near fuel-burning appliances
- A burning smell or other unusual odors
- An appliance that keeps shutting off by itself
- Yellow or orange flames from gas appliances (a bright blue flame usually indicates that the appliance is functioning properly)
- Excess moisture inside of windows
For more information about CO, please call the City of Tiffin Fire Department, Fire Marshal, at 319-545-2572 Ext. 2203.