Daylight savings time with the Sycamore Fire Department

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When changing your clocks, give some attention to your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

Sycamore, IL – With daylight savings time on Sunday, November 3, 2019, the Sycamore Fire Department wants to remind residents to give much-needed attention to your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. 

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), nearly 3 out of 5 home fire deaths are the result of fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no smoke alarms that were working (17%). The NFPA also reports that fires with present smoke detectors did not operate more than 43% of the time, due to missing or disconnected batteries. Finally, smoke detectors that had dead batteries caused 25% of smoke alarm failures. 

Smoke detectors provide an early warning of fire, giving residents additional escape time. “Smoke detectors should be present in every structure,” says Sycamore firefighter/paramedic Ian Wheeler. “Fire spreads very rapidly, and the best tool to have for early detection is a smoke detector.” 

In addition to smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be assessed this weekend as well. “With the cooler temperatures on the way, the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases,” says Wheeler. 

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas that can be fatal if not monitored appropriately. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane) burn incompletely. Incomplete combustion of any of these materials can produce a toxic gas that can only be detected with a carbon monoxide detector. In the home, gas appliances such as a furnace, stove, oven, clothes dryer or water heater have the potential to produce carbon monoxide if they are not burning efficiently or properly vented. Other possible hazards may be produced from running vehicles or generators in an attached garage.  

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 10,000 people are poisoned by carbon monoxide needing medical treatment each year.

“It is important to understand that someone can be poisoned by carbon monoxide by being exposed to very small amounts over an extended period of time, or by being exposed to a very high amount over a short period of time,” adds Wheeler. “The only way to be sure there is no carbon monoxide present in the home is by having a working carbon monoxide detector.”

Symptoms of CO poisoning

CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

The concentration of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm) is a determining factor in the symptoms for an average, healthy adult.

50 ppm: No adverse effects with 8 hours of exposure.

200 ppm: Mild headache after 2-3 hours of exposure.

400 ppm: Headache and nausea after 1-2 hours of exposure.

800 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 45 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 1 hour of exposure.

1,000 ppm: Loss of consciousness after 1 hour of exposure.

1,600 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 20 minutes of exposure.

3,200 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 5-10 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 30 minutes of exposure.

6,400 ppm: Headache and dizziness after 1-2 minutes; unconsciousness and danger of death after 10-15 minutes of exposure.

12,800 ppm: Immediate physiological effects, unconsciousness and danger of death after 1-3 minutes of exposure.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please exit the building and call 9-1-1 immediately. 

For any other questions regarding smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors, please contact the Sycamore Fire Department at (815)895-4514 or visit us on our Facebook page.

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