Summertime Fun: Fire Safety BBQ and Grilling Tips

With Memorial Day weekend behind us, summer is in full swing. And nothing says summertime like a backyard cookout. While cookouts are undoubtedly the best way to enjoy the fantastic summer weather, it’s important to recognize that BBQs, whether charcoal, LP gas, or otherwise, pose potential safety hazards for you, your family and your home. The City of Boston, MA, has offered some useful safety tips to its population that can be useful to us all. Among them:

  • Make sure your grill is far enough away from combustible walls.
  • Place your grill in an open area to allow safe ventilation of smoke and other vapors.
  • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing near a BBQ.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
  • Watch out for wind, as it may blow sparks and start a fire.
  • Never start a gas grill while its lid is closed.
  • Don’t leave your children unattended near an operating grill.

While the debate will continue to rage on as to whether or not charcoal is better than gas, there’s one important thing you should note about using it: Charcoal briquettes can produce a high amount of carbon monoxide. That’s why it’s vitally important that you utilize a charcoal grill in an open and well-ventilated area. Of course, any grill can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, and when that grill is adjacent to your home, it can get inside. That’s why as an added precaution to your summer fun, we at Crossfire recommend installing out state-of-the-art carbon monoxide detectors in your home. That way you can keep on grilling, and our products can keep on keeping your family safe.

The End of a Carbon Monoxide Detector’s Life

In the Green Bay area, carbon monoxide detectors are becoming a problem for local fire firefighters. According to WBAY, area fire fighters have seen an uptick in carbon monoxide related 911 calls. They’ve found that this is the result of many of the area’s carbon monoxide detectors reaching their expiration date at roughly the same time.

Did you know that a carbon monoxide detector has a shelf life? The mechanisms within a detector only work effectively for a certain period of time before they are no longer able to detect the presence of carbon monoxide with great accuracy. Due to changes in industry standards within the last decade, carbon monoxide detectors have been fitted with end-of-life alarms to warn their users when the efficacy of their carbon monoxide detectors has been compromised. These end-of-life alarms are not as loud as the detector’s true alarm, which can be deafening.

If your carbon monoxide detector has been behaving this way that means its time for a replacement. And if you don’t already have one, it’s time to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Crossfire’s state-of-the-art carbon monoxide detectors are perfect for your home. They were built with longevity in mind. Not only do they offer supreme detection, their long-life, tamperproof batteries will keep your home secure for the next 20 years. While that’s not quite be set and forget, that’s pretty close. Even better, these carbon monoxide detectors use wireless communication to alert each other to problems in any part of your home. This added feature gives you the level of extra protection that could mean the difference between life and death should the worst ever come to pass.

So don’t hesitate and purchase such a detector to keep you and your family safe! Take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.

Source: http://www.wbay.com/story/25496352/2014/05/12/expiring-co-detectors-causing-confusion-false-alarms-for-area-fire-departments

What Is Carbon Monoxide and Why Is It Dangerous?

You’ve heard a lot about the dangers of carbon monoxide, but just what in the hell is it? In a nutshell, carbon monoxide is the chemical byproduct of the incomplete combustion of carbon-based compounds. It is called carbon monoxide, because, as you might guess, it contains one atom of oxygen per atom of carbon. Incomplete combustion takes place when there is an insufficient amount of oxygen present during combustion.

Now, carbon monoxide is not in and of itself dangerous. In fact, it is present at perfectly safe levels all around us as part of the natural environment. However, it can become dangerous to humans, and most animal life for that matter, when it is present in a high enough concentration. When humans are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, damage occurs as a result of breathing it in. When it is inhaled, the carbon monoxide replaces normal oxygen within the blood stream. This means that internal organs are not getting the oxygen that they need. Moreover, instead of receiving oxygen, they are receiving poisonous carbon monoxide as a replacement.

Because of this, organs within the body that rely heavily upon a rich supply of oxygen are quickly affected, namely the brain and lungs. Therefore, the typical initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are tightness in the chest accompanied by headache, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. During a prolonged exposure, a person can ultimately be put in a state of confusion or, even worse, incapacitated.

In the event that someone around you experiences these symptoms, move them immediately to an open area outdoors and call for emergency medical professionals. If you suspect there are others who might be affected still inside, do not attempt to rescue them. Instead, wait for the authorities, as they will have the equipment necessary to deal with possibly fatal levels of carbon monoxide.

For more on keeping safe from carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.

Add These Phone Numbers To Your Contact List Right Now!

If you’ve not already, you should add a contact called ICE to your phone’s contact list. Why ICE? Well, ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, and in the event you’re incapacitated during an emergency, first responders can use this number to get vital information they might need about you. For this reason, you’ll want your ICE contact to be someone who’s knowledgeable about you and your medical history.

In addition, there are other phone numbers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you have handy in case of a fire in your home. Most importantly, you’ll want to have the phone numbers for your local police and fire departments. With these numbers you can get in touch with the authorities without burdening 911 operators. In addition, you should have the phone number for your state’s Poison Control Center. This is especially important if you have a high volume of hazardous chemicals or plants in your home.

If you’d like to make these numbers immediately available in your phone’s contact list, you can add an asterisk before the beginning of the department’s name. This will cause the phone to list these contacts first alphabetically. Also, for convenience, you might want to label the contacts of your relatives and physician appropriately. This can save valuable time for a first responder when attempting to get important information about you in order to save your life.

(Source: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-130.pdf)

Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?

Carbon monoxide in your home can be produced by a wide array of sources, and it’s important to know what items in your home produce it. The first step in preventing a carbon monoxide tragedy is buying a detector. The second is making sure that your household appliances that produce carbon monoxide are operating (and are operated) properly.

In your home, carbon monoxide is produced by anything that engages in combustion. As you might imagine, this makes gas-burning ovens, ranges and stoves significant contributors to household CO-levels. Make sure that rooms in your home that contain any of these appliances are properly ventilated. If at any time you smell gas when you shouldn’t, get in touch with a technician to service your appliance and ventilate the area. Even small leaks, if given enough time, can prove fatal!

Everyone enjoys a beautiful wood fire in the fireplace. However, always make sure that your home’s fireplace is properly operated and ventilated. If the fire is not able to breathe properly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up in your home. If that happens, then that sleepy feeling you get from the fireplace might be something else entirely!

Finally, your furnace and/or boiler can be a significant contributor to carbon monoxide levels in your home. If these appliances are not adjusted and maintained properly, they can leak carbon monoxide into your home. Therefore, it’s suggested that you have these appliances regularly serviced and checked. Again, if you ever smell gas around either of these appliances, call a licensed technician immediately.

These are not the only possible sources of carbon monoxide in your home, but they are the most common. As a rule, make sure anything that operates by combustion (even a cigarette!) is properly ventilated in your home. Doing so will prevent tragedy and keep your Crossfire carbon monoxide detectors silent.

For more on keeping your home safe from carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.