With the back-to-back snow storms that continue to hit the area, it may not look like it, but spring is just around the corner and one sure sign is the start of Daylight Saving Time. When the clocks “spring forward” is the ideal time to “spring into action” for home safety, by changing the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms.
“As you turn your clock forward, it’s also a good opportunity to make sure detectors are working properly to protect you and your loved ones,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid’s New York vice president. “The safety of our customers is the top priority for National Grid and we are reminding our customers to take proper safety precautions now and to change out carbon monoxide and smoke alarm batteries.”
Carbon monoxide 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 carbon monoxide include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, 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 length of exposure, symptoms may 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 718-643-4050 for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and 800-490-0045 for Long Island/Rockaway Peninsula. Do not return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is found.
National Grid shares the following safety reminders to help customers identify and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
• Install Underwriters Laboratory, or UL, approved home carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
• Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
• Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Never use a gas range for heating or burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
• Never cover slots or holes in the bottom of the oven with spill pans or foil, which can block airflow in the oven.
• If you use a back-up generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Know that open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors.
National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide related calls for natural gas customers within its service area – even if you purchase natural gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer. However, please always call 911 first.
More ways to spring into action for home safety:
• Confirm that you have working smoke detectors with fresh batteries in every bedroom to ensure you “hear the beep where you sleep” in the event of a fire.
• 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.
• If you smell gas, (the odor is similar to rotten eggs), make sure everyone in the home leaves immediately. Once you’re safe, call 911 or National Grid at 718-643-4050 for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and 1-800-490-0045 for Long Island/Rockaway Peninsula right away. Don’t light a match or smoke, turn appliances on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to ignite. Remember: Smell gas. Act fast.
• Always dial 811 two to 10 days before digging or excavating on your property. After you call, utility companies will mark the approximate locations of their lines at no charge to you. Whether you’re planting a shrub or installing a deck, every job requires a call to 811—it’s the law.
—Submitted by National Grid