Firefighter Tasha Hoffman
Public Education Coordinator
Central Fire Station
505 W. Fayette Ave.
Effingham, IL 62401
Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won't tip over easily.
- Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Don't burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Clothes Dryer Maintenance
By observing a few simple indications of poor system performance, one can examine the dryer components for any blockage or excessive heat. A clogged dryer vent may be your problem if: you notice heavy clothes such as blue jeans or towels taking a long time to dry, or clothes feel hotter than usual at the end of the cycle.
Follow these few safety tips:
- Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the screen or the exhaust duct is blocked. Inspect lint screen for rips. If any are found, replace immediately.
- Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
- Disconnect, clean, and inspect the dryer duct and venting every couple of years, or hire a professional company to clean the dryer components. Some dryer vents may need more frequent inspection, such as in homes with complex construction where the dryer vents exceed 6 feet from the outside, or with smaller stack dryers and dryers that are older and do not have moisture sensors or high temperature safety limit controls. This will reduce the fire risk and increase the dryer's efficiency.
- Inspect your outside exhaust termination. Outside wall dampers should have a covering that will keep out rain, snow, and dirt. However, do not use wire screen or cloth of any kind to protect the exhaust opening. It can collect lint and clog areas of the dryer vent. In order to deter birds and small animals from nesting in vents, make sure the dryer vent system and damper are working suitably.
- Keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter. Clean behind dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation.
- Never let your clothes dryer run while you are out of the house or asleep. If it malfunctions, no one will be there to avert possible disaster.
- Never put synthetic materials such as rubber, plastic, foam, or pieces of cloth that have been used to sponge up flammable liquids in the dryer, even if previously washed. Vapors from these products could ignite or explode.
- Install a smoke detector in or near your laundry room. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector if using a gas-powered dryer.
Departments of Homeland Security, Consumer Product Safety Commission
Flexible gas lines
Please inspect and replace any deteriorated, older-style brass, flexible gas connectors in your home. Gas connectors are corrugated metal tubes used to connect gas appliances, such as dryers, stoves or water heaters to gas supply lines. Currently these connectors are made of stainless steel or plastic coated brass. In the past, these connectors were made of uncoated brass. These older brass connectors may have a flaw in how the tubing was joined to the end pieces. These older brass connectors have end pieces brazed (soldered) to corrugated brass tubing. Over time, the brazing can fail, creating a serious gas leak. These dangerous uncoated brass connectors have not been made for more than 20 years, but many of them are still in use.
It is difficult to determine from a visual inspection weather a flexible connector has been brazed. Therefore, if an uncoated brass connector is found, it should be replaced with either a new stainless steel or plastic coated brass connector. Replace any flexible gas connector that is more than 10 years old. Connectors can wear out from too much moving, bending, or corrosion. Connectors should always be replaced whenever the appliance is replaced or moved from its location. Any new flexible gas connector should be certified by the American Gas Association (AGA) and conform to the rules of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z21.24. When you purchase a new flexible gas connector, make sure that it has an AGA or ANSI approval label attached.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak:
- Leave the building immediately
- Do not use your phone; call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's phone
- Do not light a match or lighter
- Do not change the position of any light switches by moving them on or off
- Do not switch on any electrical appliances or equipment
Flu Symptoms? Could Be Carbon Monoxide Poisoning!
- Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the "Invisible Killer" because it's a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas.
- More than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products. These products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
- Never use portable generators inside your home, garage, basement or shed. CO from a generator can kill your family in minutes. Only use them outside and far away from windows, doors and vents.
- Keep charcoal grills outside where they belong. Never use a charcoal grill in the house or garage. They can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
- Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
- Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
- Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.
Know the Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Shortness of breath
High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
- Mental confusion