Fall is known for apples, pumpkins, colorful leaves, and cooler weather. The change in season tends to mean outdoor activities such as harvesting apples and pumpkins but also more time spent indoors with the heat on and the windows closed on cool, wet days. As a result, carbon monoxide poisonings tend to increase at this time of year. Setting up your home for safety in early fall can help to prevent a deadly accident.
Use these Early Fall Safety Tips to keep your family safe this season:
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector. With the furnace on and windows closed, you are at greater risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. The best place for the sensor is near to the bedrooms. If bedrooms are spread apart then more than one sensor is recommended.
- Have your furnace serviced by a qualified heating technician to make sure that it is set to operate safely and efficiently.
- Inspect the chimney to make sure that it is unobstructed. Although old fashioned wood burning fire places are less common today, many furnaces vent into the chimney, which means that they must be free of debris to allow products created by combustion to vent to the outside atmosphere. If you do have a working wood fireplace, have the chimney inspected to make sure it is in good condition and free of creosote buildup.
- Clear the area around your furnace to ensure good air circulation. Keep any flammable materials far away from your furnace.
- Never heat the room with an oven. Especially when money is tight, it can be tempting to heat the house by turning on an oven and opening the door. Unfortunately, the unvented products of combustion can quickly build to toxic levels.
- Be careful when using portable or space heaters. Always follow manufacturer instructions for safe venting and use. Basic tips are to keep the heat source at least three feet away from combustible items such as curtains and to always unplug when you leave the house or before going to sleep. Don’t leave children or pets unattended with space heaters, and never use them to dry laundry or shoes.
- Look out for power lines. It seems that there are multiple fall activities that happen up high and could therefore put you at risk for encountering power lines: picking apples, cleaning gutters, and installing storm windows to name a few. Always look up and inspect the area when working with ladders, pruning poles, tractors, etc. Note: If you are on a tractor or other moving equipment and it gets caught in a power line, stay on the vehicle and call for help. Jumping off can put you at risk for electrocution as you become the pathway for the electricity to follow.
- Brush up on ladder safety before setting up to clean roofs or gutters or to prune trees.
- Be careful not to overdo yourself physically to plant new trees or shrubs or clean gutters, etc. If necessary, hire a professional.
- Setup outdoor lights. With the sun setting earlier, it is more likely to be dark when you leave the house as well as when you return. Good outdoor lighting can help prevent crimes plus trip and fall or other accidents. Inspect fixtures and outlets for weather damage and replace burnt-out bulbs.
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