We change the time on our clocks each spring and autumn, and as the leaves begin to fall, it's a good reminder to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors around the home. Both types of units do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones. Batteries should also be replaced at least once a year. Dust particles can also clog a smoke alarm, so carefully vacuum the inside using a soft bristle brush attachment.
A national study commissioned by Duracell and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) showed:
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a by-product of incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline, wood, or other bio-fuels. Examples include a home furnace, space heater, wood stove, automobiles, hot water heaters etc.
Many seemingly innocuous things can create unsafe levels of CO. Automobiles left running in an attached garage, a portable generator operating near an open window or in the garage, an outdoor gas barbecue operated inside the house, a crack in the heat exchanger of the furnace, or even a fireplace chimney that is dirty or plugged may contribute to dangerous CO levels.
Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness, without the elevated temperature associated with the flu. In severe cases, CO poisoning can cause death. If you suspect unsafe levels of carbon monoxide or if you or anyone in your home is experiencing the symptoms of CO poisoning, ensure that everyone leaves the building immediately, leaving the door open. Call your local fire department or 911 from a neighbour's telephone. If your CO alarm sounds, do NOT assume it to be a false alarm. Open all doors and windows to ventilate the home. If you cannot find the problem and the alarm continues, contact the fire department.
Don't worry about your cooking skills: most of us have had the situation when a smoke detector has activated because of smoke from cooking--usually from food spilled on a hot element and not because of our culinary skills. However, what is worrying is that 50% of people have admitted to having quieted an alarm by removing it from the wall or taking out the batteries.
One way to help reduce the occurrence of these nuisance alarms is to install photoelectric-type smoke alarms in those areas of the home where they happen. These photoelectric-type smoke alarms are activated by sensing the smoke from a larger, "smoldering fire" – not, for example, from the smoke particles of burnt toast.
While you're thinking about safety, you might also want to take a few minutes to review your home insurance coverage. Any changes, such as renovations or additions to your home, can mean a change to the terms or limits of your policy. It's important to have the right coverage in place in case you have a claim.
The OMA Home and Auto Insurance Program provides you with the flexibility to build a home insurance policy that suit your unique and specific needs.
Get a quote online or by calling 1.877.277.7165.
The OMA Auto & Home Insurance Program is underwritten by The Personal Insurance Company (collectively carrying on business as "The Personal"). Certain conditions, limitations and exclusions may apply.
The information and advice in this newsletter is provided for general informational purposes only. The OMA and The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The OMA and The Personal recommend using caution and consulting with an expert when appropriate for comprehensive advice. You should always consult the owner's manual of the manufacturer and follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines with respect to the proper use and installation of any products referred to in this newsletter.