February 13, 2012
Winter is far from over, and the snow drifts are still piled high in many parts of the country. Plus, we have plenty of cold weather still ahead of us. That’s why life safety authorities in a number of jurisdictions around the US are issuing renewed warnings about carbon monoxide – the odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas that results from partial combustion. In December I posted on a family’s close call with carbon monoxide– and here’s a recent article from Abington, MA, just outside Boston:
With snow piling up around and on top of businesses and homes, fire chiefs are warning people to keep their vents clear and avoid a potentially fatal backup of carbon monoxide. “You just have to make sure there is plenty of clearance,” Abington Fire Chief John Nuttall said. He warned in particular about power vents, located close to ground level on the sides of buildings. Because they’re installed so low, snow can cover them easily and cause carbon monoxide to back up and become trapped inside.
Protection Starts with Detection
Nuttall also advised residents to make sure they have a carbon monoxide detector in the home. The deadly gas has no color, scent or taste. Stoughton Fire Chief David Jardin expanded upon Nuttall’s warning, saying homeowners and business should clear dryer vents, gas meters and generators. “All those things need to breathe,” Jardin said.
It’s Becoming the Law
In many areas, local building codes have added language requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors, just as smoke detectors are generally required for new construction. But just as with smoke detectors, these codes focus only on devices that make noise – in other words, they are not monitored. We all know that “noisemaker” detectors are certainly better than nothing: the question is, why not monitor them as well? That way, the authorities can be dispatched if there is an alarm condition. If you cannot hear or respond to the siren in your home – for instance, overcome by smoke, which is the major cause of death in home fires - that shouldn’t be the end of your protection.
That’s why many alarm companies offer monitored smoke and heat sensors, and carbon monoxide sensors as well. These lifesaving devices are often wireless, and will summon help when it matters most. In the case of the smoke and heat sensor, it’s good to know that if you’re not home, you don’t have to wait for your neighbor to see flames leaping from your house before the fire department is notified. And what about if you are home and are overcome by smoke or carbon monoxide? The loudest siren won’t help you then – you want the authorities to be dispatched.
FrontPoint offers these devices and other environmental sensors as well, but we are especially committed to the lifesaving value of fire and carbon monoxide monitoring in the home – so strong, in fact, that we don’t tack on extra monthly charges for these services, the way some of our larger competitors do. We recommend at least one monitored smoke and heat sensor with every system we sell, and are increasingly encouraging our customers to add carbon monoxide as well. It just makes sense – and from the #1 ranked alarm company in the US for interactive, wireless home security, would you expect anything less?