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Safety for Dad

Dads do lawnmowers. Dads do grills. This Father’s Day, give your dad the information that will help him do what he does safely.

Each year, about 110 people die and about 87,000 people are treated in emergency rooms from injuries associated with power lawnmowers. This includes walk-behind mowers, riding mowers, lawn tractors and garden tractors.

If you’re buying dad a new walk-behind rotary lawn mower, consider these factors. Then remind him about safety:

  • Fill the fuel tank before starting the engine. NEVER refuel when the mower is running or hot.
  • Pick up twigs, rocks and other debris before you mow. The whole family can help with this. Just make sure that children clear the area before the actual mowing begins.
  • Cut dry grass, not wet grass. Wet clippings could jam the rotary blade and shut down the engine. When you need to remove clippings from the discharge chute, STOP the mower.
  • Push the mower forward. Don’t pull it backward.
  • On lawn slopes, if you are using a walk-behind rotary mower, mow across the slope. If you drive a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it.
  • Check safety features often and repair or replace them if needed. Do not remove any safety devices from a mower.
  • When using an electric mower, organize your work so you first cut the area closest to the electrical outlet and then gradually move away. This will minimize your chance of running over the power cord and getting electrocuted.

Dads grilling
As for the grill, here’s a maintenance and safety checklist for gas grills. Give him these key points:

  • Check the grill’s hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. The hose or tubing shouldn’t have any sharp bends.
  • Hoses need to be as far from the hot surfaces as possible. Don’t let grease drip on them.
  • Any time you reconnect a grill to the LP gas container, or if you smell gas, check for leaks. To do this, open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution (one part water, one part liquid detergent) with a brush at the connection points. If you see bubbles, there’s a leak. Turn off the gas, tighten the connection and test again. If you can’t stop the leak, replace the leaking parts.
  • Do NOT light a grill if you detect a leak.

On average, about 3,600 people are treated in emergency rooms each year from injuries associated with gas, charcoal or propane grills. Of the 12 deaths each year associated with grills, about two-thirds are from carbon monoxide poisoning when a grill is used in an enclosed space like inside a house.

When grilling, always follow these safety tips:

  • Only use a grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under any surface that will burn.
  • Never leave a grill unattended.
  • Keep children away from the grill. The outside surface can burn when touched.
  • Always follow the instructions that came with the grill.

All of this advice is meant to ensure that dad doesn’t spend Father’s Day in the emergency room. Have a happy and safe Father’s Day!

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/06/safety-for-dad/

WORKING Alarms Save Lives – Really!

It’s Time Change Sunday. Yes, again. And that means it’s time to remind you to change your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm batteries.

Occasionally, we tell you about deaths in homes without working alarms. We hear these tragic stories on the news regularly or see them posted online.

But, for Daylight Saving Time this year, we want to remind you of some positive stories. These are anecdotal, as they are told through the eyes of the media and we haven’t investigated any of the facts ourselves in these cases. But they show lifesaving information about having working smoke and CO alarms in your home.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm
The first story comes from KSAT in San Antonio, Texas. An apartment dweller told KSAT that she installed a carbon monoxide alarm at the advice of a friend. Because of the beep of that alarm, the residents of an entire apartment building were evacuated and saved from a building with high levels of carbon monoxide, a gas that you can’t see or smell, but which can kill you.

The second story comes from BayToday in North Bay, Canada. A mom reports that she and her daughter were feeling nauseous and thought they were getting sick. An alarm was beeping, and the mom asked her husband to go turn it off. Instead of turning the alarm off, the father looked at the alarm, saw the carbon monoxide levels and got the family out of the house. Another story about a tragedy that was prevented.

So remember, buy some new batteries and take a few minutes this weekend to install them in all of your smoke and CO alarms. Then, make sure to test the alarms every month to make sure they are working.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this OnSafety blog do not reflect CPSC endorsement of any product.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/03/working-alarms-save-lives-really/

CO Deaths Continue to Rise

Just in time for the cold weather, we have new information on carbon monoxide (CO) deaths associated with the use of consumer products.

In 2008 — the latest year for which we have complete data — there were about 190 unintentional non-fire CO-poisoning deaths associated with consumer products under our jurisdiction. The product associated with most of these deaths? Portable generators.

As more people use portable generators, the numbers of CO-related deaths have increased.  In 1999 there were seven generator-related CO deaths. In 2008 the number of deaths reached 86. That’s an increase of more than 1,000 percent.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer that strikes within minutes. You can protect yourself with a few simple safety rules:

  • Install working CO alarms in your home. Make sure the alarm is battery-operated or has a battery-backup so it works during a power outage.
  • Keep all generators outside of your home, away from doors and windows.
  • Never use a generator in a garage, basement, crawl space, shed or on a porch.

Most CO-related deaths happen from November through February — the cold months. This makes sense, of course. In colder months, we use our furnaces and fuel-burning space heaters. When we lose power during storms, more and more of you power up your portable generators.

CO deaths also occur when charcoal is used indoors. Just like generators, keep burning charcoal outside, away from the house.

Let’s see if we can work together to drop the number of carbon monoxide-related deaths.

To watch this video in Adobe Flash format, you may need to download the Adobe Flash player. You can also watch the video in Windows Media format.

(Watch in Windows Media format.)

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/01/co-deaths-continue-to-rise/

Time Change-Battery Change Sunday

When you’re changing your clocks this Sunday, make sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, too.

“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives by alerting you to a fire or CO buildup. They can’t do their job if the batteries aren’t working,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Protect your family by replacing smoke and CO alarm batteries at least once each year.”

To watch this video in Adobe Flash format, you may need to download the Adobe Flash player. You can also watch the video on YouTube.

Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that don’t work.

CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. CO alarms should not be installed in attics or basements unless they include a sleeping area. Combination smoke and CO alarms are available to consumers.

November is also a good time of year to schedule an annual professional inspection of all fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces and chimneys. This inspection helps protect against CO poisoning. Home heating systems were associated with 70 deaths, or 38 percent of CO poisoning deaths, in 2007, the largest percentage of non-fire CO poisoning deaths.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/11/time-change-battery-change-sunday/

Post-Hurricane: Power by Generator

According to the Associated Press as of Monday morning, Hurricane Irene blacked out 8 million homes and businesses at its height. Many are still without power.

And online news reports of carbon monoxide incidents due to generators have been popping up:

  • Ellicott City, Md.: A 48-year-old man died from carbon monoxide poisoning. His wife and teenage son were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning. The family reportedly had a generator running in their garage. The batteries were dead in the carbon monoxide alarm in the home. (Source: Baltimore Sun)

 

  • Fairfield, Ct.: Six people – four adults and two children – were reportedly treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide exposure. A gasoline generator was running in the basement of their home. (Source: WTNH-TV 8)

 

  • Washington Township, N.J.: A police sergeant and a firefighter were reportedly hospitalized after working for five hours in a room while a generator was running. (Source: Examiner)

 

  • Kensington, Md.: Two people were reportedly taken to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. The house had a generator running outside; however, the carbon monoxide drifted in through open windows. (Source: WTOP)

 

  • Hanover, Va.: Two people were taken to the hospital. A gas-powered generator was reportedly outside an open window. High levels of CO were found inside. (Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

 

  • Abington, Md.: A family of seven put their generator just inside the garage door. The garage door was reportedly raised about a foot to ventilate the fumes. But the fumes entered the house. The family survived. (Source: ABC-TV 2)

Generator Warning Label
Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. It’s odorless and colorless. Operating a generator inside your home is like running hundreds of cars in your home. The carbon monoxide can kill you and your family in minutes.

If you’re a first-time generator user – or even if you’ve used one before – make sure to read the owner’s manual and the warning label on your generator carefully. Use  a generator outside your home, far away from windows, doors and vents. DO NOT use it inside. And make sure your home has a working CO alarm.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/08/post-hurricane-power-by-generator/