Start by changing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Nov. 4, and while turning your clocks back one hour, remember to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms as well. National Grid reminds customers that there are many actions you can take this time of year to help keep yourself and your family safe, such as having your furnace serviced for the heating season.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. When fuels such as natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline don’t burn completely, they can release carbon monoxide into the air. Common sources of dangerous carbon monoxide buildup include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, woodstoves, water heaters, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending on the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and the length of exposure, they can include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and call 911. Next, call National Grid’s gas emergency contact number, 800-892-2345. Do not return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is identified and addressed. National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide-related calls for all natural gas customers within its service area – even if you purchase natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer.
National Grid shares the following safety reminders to help you identify and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year.
- Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
- Be sure space heaters and woodstoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- It’s that time of year when ovens are used more frequently; take precautions to operate a gas oven safely.
- Always operate ovens as they are intended. Do not use an oven to heat a room.
- Be sure children are monitored while the oven is in use.
- Slots, holes or passages in the oven bottom, as well as oven racks, should never be covered (such as with aluminum foil). Doing so blocks air flow and may cause carbon monoxide buildup.
- Remember to use your senses: a strong, pungent odor or the presence of soot on any part of the oven surface indicates improper combustion and carbon monoxide generation.
- Never burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
- If you use a backup generator to supply power during an outage, be sure only to operate it outdoors. It is never safe to operate a generator indoors, even if windows are open.
- Confirm that you have working smoke detectors in every bedroom to ensure you “hear the beep where you sleep” in the event of a fire.
- Batteries should be replaced in smoke alarms at least once a year, unless the alarms have sealed, 10-year batteries.
- Inspect fire extinguishers at least once a month. Ensure that:
- the extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that could interfere with access in an emergency;
- the pressure is at the recommended level;
- the nozzle or other parts are not hindered in any way;
- the pin and tamper seal (if it has one) are intact; and
- there are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and/or other signs of abuse/wear.
- If you don’t currently have a fire extinguisher, get one. Base your selection on the classification and the extinguisher’s compatibility with the items you wish to protect.
Gas Safety Inside or Outside Your Home or Business
- If you smell gas (the odor is similar to rotten eggs), leave the premises immediately and call 911 or National Grid at 800-892-2345 from a safe location. Don’t light a match or smoke, don’t turn appliances on or off (including flashlights), don’t use a telephone and don’t start a car. Any of these actions can produce sparks that might cause the gas to ignite. Remember: Smell gas? Act fast.
- Arrange for an annual check of your heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor. If you haven’t had your heating system inspected yet, call now.
- Click here for National Grid’s Carbon Monoxide Safety brochure. For more information on carbon monoxide prevention, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Division.
For more safety tips, please visit National Grid’s website here.