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Posted by IDEAL Real Estate, LLC on 7/22/2018

“The silent killer.” It’s a perplexing name for a common household hazard. We’ve all heard of the dangers of carbon monoxide, but few of us are taught exactly what causes CO poisoning.

Understanding the causes of CO poisoning are essential in reducing the risk that you or your family could be harmed by this poisonous gas. So, in this article we’ll break down what exactly it is that carbon monoxide does to the body, where it can occur in the home, and how to protect yourself against it.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas. Because it is so dangerous to humans, fuels that emit carbon monoxide are usually mixed with other gases that do have an odor. This way, humans can typically smell gas and therefore be alerted that they are in danger.

What does CO do to the body?

When inhaled, carbon monoxide inhibits your body’s ability to use oxygen. So, even though you are breathing in air, your body is still suffocating. As a result, the lack of oxygen caused by carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to death the same way that drowning does.

High levels of CO in the air can cause you to succumb within minutes. Your chest will tighten, you’ll feel dizzy or drowsy and could suffocate if you don’t get away from the area.

However, lower levels of CO exposure can also be dangerous. People often notice headaches, slight dizziness and muscle fatigue and mistake the symptoms for the flu.

People who are asleep can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without ever experiencing symptoms.

Where is CO found within the home?

Since carbon monoxide occurs from unburned fuels leaking in the air, there are a number of sources within and outside the home that emit carbon monoxide.

According to the American Lung Association, some common sources of carbon monoxide include:

  • Gas appliances (furnaces, ranges, ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, etc.)

  • Fireplaces, wood stoves

  • Coal or oil furnaces

  • Space heaters or oil or kerosene heaters

  • Charcoal grills, camp stoves

  • Gas-powered lawn mowers and power tools

  • Automobile exhaust fumes

How to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning

Luckily there are several ways to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. Knowing what causes it is the first and most important way. Preventing gas leaks in appliances and maintaining proper upkeep of those appliances is one important way.

Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure your home is well ventilated. If cooking for a long period of time, don’t leave gas ranges unattended. If the knobs on your range are easily turned, make sure children and pets aren’t left alone near the oven.

Never use items like kerosene lanterns, portable camping stoves, burning charcoal, or running engines inside your home or garage. Lack of ventilation can easily cause CO levels to rise to a dangerous level within minutes.

Common mistakes involving carbon monoxide include running lawnmowers or other gas-powered items inside a garage, or leaving a car running in a garage.

Finally, install a carbon monoxide detector in your house and garage. Change the batteries regularly and test the alarm often. If you smell gas in your home and can’t identify the source immediately, open the windows and leave the house.





Posted by IDEAL Real Estate, LLC on 4/9/2017

Millions of burglaries occur each year throughout the United States. Many times one or more homeowners or family members are present during a home invasion. Interactions between homeowners and burglars can easily result in violence, accidents and minor or major injuries.

Although you may not stop every would be burglar, there are actions that you can take to protect your family. Some things that you can do to protect yourself and your family are so simple, that they are easy to over look. They are also easy to forget.

Home security isn't as hard or expensive as you think

A beginning step to greater home security starts with what you tell your family. To keep your family safe:

  • Tell a relative, neighbor or friend you trust when you'll be away from home for a day or longer
  • Wait until you get inside your house to tell your children or spouse that you're going to be away from home for the night or going on a business trip. You never know who is listening or who could accidentally overhear you.
  • Never announce where you're going while you're outside or when you expect to return.
  • Leave contact telephone numbers in an easy to reach place. Let your household members know where the contact information is. Everyone in your house should also have your cell phone number.
  • Instruct gatekeepers at conferences, businesses and other events you attend to put your children or spouse through should they call and say that they need to reach you urgently.
  • Teach your children and their friends not to open the door to strangers. This includes postal carriers and utility companies workers.

There's a lot you could do to avoid putting your family at risk

Much of what you can do to keep from putting your family at risk has to do with communication. You can also expand upon these steps. For example, you could:

  • Install a reliable home security system that protects the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Lock your doors and windows. If you're on the first floor, lock windows and doors on your house's second floor and vice versa. Remember, many home invasions occur while one or more homeowners is present.
  • Leave televisions or radios on while you're out shopping or on short day trips.
  • Place lights that operate on motion sensors along the sidewalk of your home.
  • Trim trees and hedges so that they don't serve as hiding places for burglars.
  • Toss gift boxes in large dumpsters. Don't store empty boxes in front of your house. It displays the types of products that you have in your own.
  • Stick home security notices on windows and doors of your garage and house.
  • Practice home evacuations. Although this step doesn't generally involve home invasions, it can help to keep your family safe during natural and human made disasters.

Protecting your family from undue risks is about more than doing something once. When you take responsibility for your family's safety, you regularly take necessary precautions. You'll also educate each person in your house about the importance of safety, including specific steps that they can take to protect themselves and your home.




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Posted by IDEAL Real Estate, LLC on 12/25/2016

Once you've lived in your home for a while it's easy to become relaxed on security. Maybe it's because you live in a safe neighborhood, or maybe you just have a habit of not locking doors. Regardless of the reason, practicing good security can pay off in a huge way protecting yourself, your family, and your belongings from harm. In this article, we're going to cover some home security basics that you might be forgetting and help you build a habit of taking care of them. Read on to learn some tips for security at home.

Safety hazards

Some of the most common safety hazards to your home are completely preventable. Hazards like fire and carbon monoxide are both easily averted by safe practices when it comes to cooking, electronics, and using open flames of any kind. Follow these tips to protect yourself from fire:
  • Install fire and CO detectors throughout your home. Set a reminder in your calendar to check the batteries yearly or however long is recommended on the detector.
  • Make sure your family knows basic cooking an electronics safety such as how to properly use ovens, microwaves, and power outlets.
  • Teach your family the proper use of fire extinguishers and have a fire safety week at your home where you cover the aforementioned topics, as well as how to evacuate the house in case of a fire.

Burglary

According to the FBI, break-ins are the number one most common threat to a home. There is a break-in every 15 seconds in America. Follow these tips to prevent break-ins at your home:
  • Don't leave spare keys outside your home or on your porch. Similarly, don't leave spare keys on or in your vehicle.
  • Make sure your doors and windows lock properly. Burglars will often move past a home if they cannot easily enter through the front or back doors. Installing a deadbolt will add to the integrity of your doors.
  • Don't keep valuable items like laptops, televisions, or expensive sound systems in plain sight from the road.
  • Change the locks when you move into a new home and keep track of the number of key copies that are made.
  • Keep a fireproof, waterproof, heavy safe in your home with important or dangerous items stored inside. This includes jewelry, important documents, and firearms & ammunition.
  • Get to know your neighbors and agree to keep an eye on one another's homes, especially when one of you is away. Install motion sensor lights and find out if your neighbor uses them. Similarly, have them pick up your mail when you're away so it doesn't seem obvious that your house is empty.

The Role of the internet and technology

Technology can be a useful tool in making your home safer or it can be an easy way to advertise that you are vulnerable to a break-in. Follow these tips when it comes to technology-related security:
  • Don't post pictures of valuable items on social media
  • Don't advertise to your social media "friends" when you are going away. This could be an invitation to break in.
  • Installing a security system or even some dummy cameras and alarms can be a great deterrent.
  • Use encrypted cloud storage to keep your data safe. That includes copies of birth certificates, social security cards, family photos, wills, and more.
 





Posted by IDEAL Real Estate, LLC on 9/11/2016

Working in your attic may not be a chore you perform frequently but it is one that must be done on occasion. Whether you use yours as a storage space or are performing an energy assessment in your home, safely accessing your attic should be a top priority. Below are some tips you can practice the next time you need to go up into the attic to ensure a safe working experience. Before you begin working make sure you have dressed appropriately. Wear a long sleeve shirt tucked into pants and gloves to avoid materials sticking to your skin which can cause irritation. You will also want to wear a dust mask and protective eyewear to avoid inhaling airborne fibers or other harmful debris that could be airborne in your attic. Attics can house mold and mildew among other hazardous materials that can bring you harm and/or make you sick when not properly protected against them. If your attic requires a fold-down ladder to access it check that the ladder is safe to support your weight. Look for any missing or loose screws that are intended to hold the ladder together and tighten/replace them before using it to get into your attic. You will be climbing up and down it as you work so you want to make sure that it will be safe to use. Adding a railing around the opening of your attic access will also add extra safety measures against falling. If your attic is unfinished and/or has potentially unsupportive flooring consider installing a safer floor by laying plywood down. Add walk boards or temporary platforms to an unfinished attic that doesn’t require permanent flooring. Always be cautious of where you step to avoid stepping on wires, ductwork or areas lacking trusses and joists. This precaution will save you from accidentally breaking through the ceiling which will put you at risk of serious harm and some major repairs. You will also want to be aware of any roofing nails poking down or old faulty wiring that requires repair. Be sure to check for signs of any animals that may have decided to move in over the winter months. If you do discover unwelcome tenants take the proper course of action by hiring a professional to rid your attic of them safely for both you and them. Some animals, like bats, may be protected by federal law so you will want to rid your house of them responsibly. When you are finished working in the attic for the day be sure to change and wash your clothes to avoid spreading hazardous debris over the rest of your house. Before you begin working spread an old sheet under the hatch and vacuum the surrounding area afterward for easy clean up. Attic safety practices are crucial to avoid harming yourself and preventing damage to your home. With some simple preparations and an active awareness, you can get chores done in your attic effectively and safely!




Tags: safety   home safety   attic  
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