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Keep Your Family Safe: Get A Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Cheryl Burt had the choice of buying a carbon monoxide alarm or the toy truck her son Zachary had wanted for his birthday. Nearly 10 years later, she still has the truck, but she lost her son -; and his brother Nicholas – to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Every day I have to live with my decision,” said Burt, a Minnesota mother who lives with her surviving son Ryan. “I have to live with the fact that the loss of their lives was preventable by something as simple as a carbon monoxide alarm.”

As cooler weather prompts residents to fire up their furnaces, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a not-for-profit product safety testing organization, is urging homeowners to purchase carbon monoxide alarms and replace the batteries in their existing ones.

Called the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by incomplete burning of fuel. Sources of carbon monoxide in homes can include malfunctioning gas-fired appliances, space heaters and chimney flues. Each year, more than 450 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these deaths occur inside homes.

“We knew we had been sick but we didn’t know why,” Burt recalled. “No one caught on that it was carbon monoxide from a faulty furnace. A CO alarm would have warned us long before our lives were in danger.”

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulty and confusion -; but they are general enough to be confused with the flu, according to Dr. Jerrold Leikin, director of Medical Toxicology for Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Illinois.

A carbon monoxide alarm should not be confused with a smoke alarm, said John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs for UL.

“A smoke alarm tells you to get out immediately, a CO alarm warns of a potential poisoning risk, usually long before our symptoms are apparent, which allows you time to get help,” Drengenberg said. “You need both life safety devices in your home.”

He recommends these preventive measures:

* Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to ensure they operate correctly and that nothing blocks the vapors from being vented out of the house.

* Test your carbon monoxide alarm at least once a month and replace the battery at least once a year.

* Make sure all family members know the difference between the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm and a smoke alarm.

* Never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm. If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, immediately operate the reset/silence button and call your fire department or 911.

* If the alarm sounds, move to fresh air until the emergency services have arrived, the home is sufficiently aired out and the carbon monoxide alarm doesn’t reactivate.

* If your carbon monoxide alarm reactivates within a 24-hour period, repeat the steps above and call a qualified technician to examine your appliances and make any appropriate repairs.

Categories: internet

Safe Drinking Water In An Emergency Or Disaster

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Nothing makes clearer the importance of water than a large disaster; clean, fresh water becomes more valuable than gold. It?s easy to forget that without water, we just can?t survive. 60 percent of our bodies are water, in fact for infants, water makes up about 80 percent of their body, so it is even more vital they have access to clean drinking water.

Unfortunately, following large-scale disasters, it?s not unusual that water supplies may be cut off temporarily or be rendered unfit for consumption. Everyone should know the following tips about safe drinking water in emergency situations.

Preparedness is Everything: The advice comes over and over, but most people still are not ready when disaster hits. You must maintain a supply of clean drinking water someplace safe in your home. You can survive a week without food, if necessary, but even one or two days without water can be fatal.

In terms of how much water is needed to be stored, you need to drink at least two quarts a day of water. Enough water for all the members of your family for at least a few days is a good idea. You can store water yourself in your own containers; anything glass, and clean, thoroughly washed plastic containers with caps work well. Seal water tightly in their containers and store them in someplace cool and dark in your home. Make sure to change new water regularly; once every six months.

Finding Safe Drinking Water: If you do run out of water during an emergency, or are trapped somewhere without ready access to clean drinking water, you?ll need to know what’s safe to drink, and what isn’t.

After a disaster, possible sources of safe drinking water in your home include the water from your hot water tank, the water from your toilet tank (not the bowl, but the water from your tank, but if it is chemical-free), and water trapped in your water pipes. Melt any ice cubes that you may have stored.

Avoid using water from waterbeds as drinking water, since they are treated with chemicals unsafe for drinking. You can use waterbed water for washing, though. Outside your home try to locate streams, rivers, lakes, or other sources of fresh water. Never drink floodwater; it is usually contaminated with bacteria and chemicals. Do save rainwater that may fall for drinking.

Purifying Water in an Emergency: If you cannot locating safe drinking water during an emergency, then any water you find that does not look clear, or which you believe may be contaminated, should be purified before drinking.

The best and easiest way to purify water is by boiling. Disease-bearing microorganisms cannot survive in high temperatures. Boil the water for about one minute. For improved taste, pour the water back and forth from one clean container to another.

If you?re unable to boil your water, treat it chemically before drinking. Household chlorine bleach can be used to treat your water. Use an eyedropper, to drop eight drops of bleach into each gallon of water to be treated. Make sure the chlorine you use lists hypochlorite as its only active ingredient; any extra chemicals or fragrances will only further contaminate the water. Stir the water and allow it to stand at least 30 minutes. When the water appears clear, it is likely safe to drink. If it is still murky or clouded, put in eight more drops and let stand another 30 minutes.

Categories: antivirus