Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO.
Carbon Monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. Calls to fire departments for these incidents are more common during the early evening hours.
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Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.
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Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards.
According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools.
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December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve.
Home candle fires peak in December (12%) and January ranked second with 10% of home candle fires. Each year between 2009 and 2013, an average of 25 home candle fires were reported each day. Overall, an estimated 9,300 home fires were caused by candles, resulting in 86 civilian deaths, 827 civilian injuries and $374 billion in direct property damage.
Get additional information on candle safety.
Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. On average each year between 2007 and 2011, roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.
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Dan Doofus learns more about what you can do to keep your home safe from electrical fires.