When you purchased those smoke detectors you so responsibly installed in your home, did you notice a similar-looking detector for carbon monoxide? If you have any products or equipment in or near your home that burn fuel, you might want to pick up a few carbon monoxide detectors too.

Unlike smoke or natural gas, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, but it is just as poisonous. In the U.S., between 150 and 200 people die annually from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning produced by malfunctioning furnaces, ranges, water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal- or gas-fired grills and engine-powered devices such as portable generators.

Even more lose their lives when CO accumulates after people leave their cars running in garages. And every year, thousands of people wind up in emergency rooms for treatment as a result of CO poisoning.

Prevention involves following these basic safety procedures.

  1. Install all appliances following the manufacturer’s instructions as well as local building codes – generally by qualified professionals.
  2. Unless you have the proper knowledge and skill as well as the appropriate tools, do not service fuel-burning appliances yourself.
  3. If your home has a fuel-burning heating system, have it serviced and inspected annually by professionals. Be sure to include chimneys and flues.
  4. Operating a portable generator or another gas-powered tool in or near an enclosed space can trap CO, leading to potentially lethal levels of the gas. Open doors and windows do not provide enough ventilation.
  5. Never use camping stoves designed for outdoor use only in an enclosed vehicle, tent or building. Some of these products may be designed to work in enclosed spaces, but they will specify that on the packaging and provide instructions for their safe use.
  6. Never burn charcoal in any kind of enclosed space such as a building, tent, or vehicle.
  7. Never leave a car running in a garage, even if you have the door open.
  8. Don’t use gas appliances such as ovens or clothes dryers as space heaters for your home.
  9. If you use a natural gas or propane oven, don’t cover the bottom with aluminum foil the way you can with an electric oven. You can block the oven’s combustion flow, producing CO.
  10. Re-check all gas appliance vents, heating vents or chimney flues after any home renovations. These can easily be blocked by forgotten tarps or debris.
  11. Install carbon monoxide alarms in hallways near every sleeping area and in living areas in the neighborhood of fuel-burning appliances. The recommendation is one alarm installed in the hallway outside every bedroom. Make sure the alarms aren’t blocked by furniture or window coverings. CO alarms should not be installed in kitchens or directly above any fuel-burning appliances. Test alarms regularly and replace following the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Signs and Symptoms of CO Poisoning

Initially, CO exposure has symptoms that resemble the flu without any fever. These include headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Further exposure can lead to vomiting, mental confusion and loss of muscular coordination. The end result is loss of consciousness and finally, death. The exposure levels and duration can affect the severity of the symptoms.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms unexpectedly, don’t wait for the CO alarm to go off to confirm it. Leave your home immediately and call the fire department on your cell or at a neighbor’s home. If they find evidence of high levels of CO, be sure that you and any family members who were exposed see a doctor immediately, letting him or her know about the CO exposure.

The Best Way To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Finally, have all of your appliances checked for problems before re-using them. If one or more CO alarms go off in your home, leave immediately with all family members and pets. Call 911 and do not re-enter your home until the emergency specialists have ensured you that it is safe. Even a few minutes can lead to loss of consciousness and death if the exposure is high enough. Do not use the problem equipment again until a qualified service technician checks and repairs it.

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Carbon monoxide poisoning is an easily avoidable risk, yet every year too many people succumb to it. Like wearing a seatbelt, you may never need a CO detector, but why take a chance? By following these few simple steps, AND installing a carbon monoxide detector by a qualified professional security company, you may become a lifesaver for the ones you care about most.

Depending on your point of view, moving can be either quite exciting or quite a hassle. To the burglar, however, your move is an opportunity. Burglars are opportunists and predators. And what do predators do? They look for the weakest links and pounce on it. During a move, you are busy, distracted, and probably a lot more relaxed in your approach to security.

On average, burglars take between 6 to 10 minutes to net $2,000 worth of your belongings. And that is on a normal day. When you factor in the common mistakes people make while moving, such as leaving boxes outside between trips or leaving the home wide open, the job can be a lot quicker and much more lucrative for the burglar.

Keeping your property safe needs to be at the forefront of your mind, even during a move. It is far better to be proactive and safe with simple steps than to neglect them and leave room for the potential for crime. These simple steps can help keep your belongings safe while you move.

Keep Your Security System

Keep your security system and security practices in place even as you move. A move draws a lot of attention and some of that attention could be from a potential burglar who is hanging around and evaluating the opportunity. Use your security cameras to keep an eye on the home and let others know you’ve got a steady eye on the situation.

Never Leave Your Belongings Out and Unattended

Even if it is a 15-minute trip, never leave the property until all of your belongings are either inside locked up or secure on a moving truck. It may seem like you are saving yourself a bit of time by moving the next load outside and close to transportation but you are actually making it a lot easier for a burglar to breeze by and grab your stuff.

Use Alternate Methods of Marking Boxes

Of course, it is important to know what is packed in each of the boxes, but if you list the items or label them you are also publicizing it to any potential criminal, making it easy to know which boxes to take. Even once you are at the new location, throwing away boxes with lists tells the burglar exactly what is in the house and where to look. Instead, try color coding or some other method of labeling.

Install Home a Home Security System in the New Home Before You Move In

Before you move into your new home, have a new security system in place. Include features such as home security cameras, smart locks, a video doorbell, and motion sensors to deter any criminal thinking a new resident is an easy target. Having security cameras in place is also an advantage if you are making multiple trips to move your household belongings because you can check in on the home between trips.

Founded in 2001, Brinton Security Services is dedicated to providing residential and commercial security and serving clients in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.