The Omaha Fire Department and First Responders Foundation work together for home safety.
Pictured here from OFD is BC Scott Fitzpatrick accepting a $1000 check from Physicians Mutual for the First Responders Foundation’s Home Safety Program. Special thanks to Physicians Mutual.
You’ve heard the saying spring forward and fall back. Daylight Savings Time began recently. Spring forward/fall back helps us remember when to set our clocks forward or back for Daylight Saving Time. Everyone needs to change their clocks, so this is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a good idea to check to see that the detectors are in good working order at least twice a year.
Life span of 10 years
The Omaha Fire Department tells us that sometimes when a detector is altering without any smoke, it may be malfunctioning and need to be replaced or the batteries changed. Most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have a life span of approximately 10 years. After 10 years it is a good idea to replace them. Some people are concerned with the cost of replacement, but remember replacing them is much cheaper than paying for physical damage after a fire and human life is irreplaceable.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
“Odor-less, taste-less, color-less, so you don’t even know,” said Scott Fitzpatrick, Omaha Fire Department, Battalion Chief. He’s talking about carbon monoxide, which can be produced by various utilities, including furnaces, space heaters and even ovens. “If you are going to run a generator, make sure it is outside, well-ventilated,” he said. “If you are going to warm up your car, make sure it is outside well-ventilated. Not in the garage.”
Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when too much CO is present in the air we breathe, which can reduce the oxygen in our red blood cells. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dull headache, dizziness or weakness, nausea, confusion, blurry vision, flu-like symptoms, and vomiting. A carbon monoxide detector reading over 9 Parts Per Million is dangerous. 200 PPM will cause headaches, dizziness, or nausea after 3 hours. 400 PPM will cause severe headaches after 1-2 hours and death after 3 hours. 1600 PPM will cause death in an hour and over 10,000 PPM will cause death in less than 10 minutes.
Omaha fire investigators say a generator left running in the garage of a south Omaha home recently, sent five people to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Family and friends reported that everyone will be “OK.” Battalion Chief Fitzpatrick says carbon monoxide alarms go off at nine parts per million. At 100, exposure gets more serious. This family was exposed to 500 parts per million.
This call came in less than two months after carbon monoxide killed three people in a Millard home. In this case, a car was left running in a closed garage. Fitzpatrick warns that it’s especially important as we head toward the winter months, that people not warm their cars in the garage.
OFD also recommends having your furnace checked now as they typically see more carbon monoxide calls as temperatures cool. “Make sure that it is working properly, sometimes there are small cracks or anything like that, that can give off CO in the home,” Fitzpatrick said. “If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, call 911, let us know, we’ll come out and we’ll have other detectors on our rigs that we carry, that make sure to measure the CO,” Fitzpatrick said.*
What if you don’t have a Smoke/CO Detector
Part of the mission of the First Responders Foundation is to enhance public safety and one way the Foundation enhances public safety is through our Home Safety Program. Our goal is for everyone to have a smoke/carbon monoxide detector. If you live in Omaha, own your home, and are in need of a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector and you are not able to provide one for yourself we will assist you to get one installed free of charge. There is also help available if you need your batteries changed. The First Responders Foundation works with the Omaha Fire Department and other Fire Departments in the metro area.
Financial donations are needed now to purchase combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
Private donations and grants make the Home Safety Program possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped finance the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors including Physicians Mutual, State Farm and Cox Communication Charities. The First Responders Foundation purchases the detectors and distributes them to local fire departments.
Donations are always needed and appreciated. Please consider making a donation.
For more information about the First Responders Foundation Home Safety Program, if you need a detector, and/or to make a tax-deductible donation click here.
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