Dryer Safety Tips from NFPA
Carbon Monoxide KILLS - install your CO detector NOW!
In May 2010, California enacted a law requiring home owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. The CDC reports that and average of 439 people died annually between 1999 and 2004 from non-fire related CO poisoning (30 to 40 in California annually). Many more people are hospitalized due to symptoms of CO exposure.
Don’t confuse Carbon Monoxide (CO) with Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is released from burning fossil fuels. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is what we exhale and plants convert back to oxygen.
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal, is burned. A person cannot see or smell carbon monoxide. However, at high levels carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes. During the heavy snow storms of 2013 on the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, a young boy died in their family car in the short time it took the father to dig the car out of the snow. Snow drifts blocked the exhaust pipe and CO entered the cabin of the vehicle. That’s how quickly CO can kill you.
Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, odorless gas. Detection in a home environment is nearly impossible by humans. The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu. Nausea, vomiting, confusion, sore muscles, headache, dizziness, light headedness, loss of balance, etc. Often, people who experience these symptoms simply go to bed thinking they are coming down with a cold. Some never wake up.
Although the bill was signed into law in 2010, California residents were to have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes as of July 1, 2011. This timeline applies only to single-family homes that have appliances that burn fossil fuels (wood, gas and oil) or homes that have attached garages or fireplaces. For all other types of housing, such as apartments and hotels, detectors should be in place as of January 1, 2013.
For minimum security, a CO Alarm should be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms and on every level including basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages. The Alarm should be located at least 6 inches (152mm) from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) from supply or return vents.
The best way to deal with Carbon Monoxide is to avoid it in the first place. Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home as recommended and follow these prevention guidelines:
~ DRYER VENT HAZARDS ~
Failure to clean dryer vents is cited as the
leading contributing factor in clothes dryer fires.
Dryer lint is the most common source of ignition
The risk of fire is equal for both gas-fueled clothes
dryers and electric-powered clothes dryers. Even
energy efficient dryers cause lint to build up in the
Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is
taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry,
clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint
removal service do it for you. Or, often, your chimney sweep service will also perform vent cleaning.
Facts and figures*
In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries and $236 million in direct property damage.
Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 4%.
The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (32%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (22%). Eight percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or malfunction
Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council