In winter, fire departments see an increase in the percentage of fires caused by preventable hazards such as space heaters and candles. Public hospitals see the result of these incidents when victims of house fires appear at their doors – often with life-threatening burns, smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning or other injuries. Never leave candles unattended, keep space heaters away from anything flammable, and don’t use major appliances, like ovens, to heat your home.
As of January 1, 2013, all homes that have fossil fuel burning appliances must have working carbon monoxide detectors. This now includes rental units and apartments. This colorless, odorless gas can quickly cause poisoning and even death in a matter of minutes. In California alone, 30 to 40 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Burn Institute.
Check your home to make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level. For more information on fire and carbon monoxide safety, or to see if you qualify for their Senior Smoke Alarm/Carbon Monoxide Detector Program, contact the Burn Institute at (858) 541-2277.