Don’t “Fall Back” on Safety


It has been a glorious start to fall…leaves in brilliant reds, oranges and golds. set against bright, clear blue skies.  Days are comfortable, but nighttime is getting chilly, so we close the windows, maybe turn on the heat or if we are so fortunate, light a fire in the fireplace.

Two weeks from today Daylight Savings time will end, and in about 10 days the reminders are going to start-change the batteries in you smoke and CO detectors, I suggest not waiting.

Smoke detector laws in New York State have been on the book for some time, but CO detectors became law earlier this year.

CO-carbon monoxide-is produces when any flamable material does not burn completely-this is any type of flammable material: oil, coal, wood, natural gas;  even kerosene, propane, charcoal and gasoline.

Colorless and mostly odorless, symptoms include disorientation, and often mimic those of the flu, and the more severe the exposure, the less likely someone is to be aware of their condition, or able to seek help.

Children, pregnant women and the elderly are at the highest risk. Most recent complete data shows there were 42,000 fire and rescue responses to CO poisoning in 2007.

No one is in more homes than real estate professionals, and no one better poised to help carry this message-dare I suggest year-round. We all have AA and AAA batteries on hand (heaven forbid the remotes don’t work!!) so I have started to keep a supply of fresh 9volt batteries in my car, to leave them with each new client consult, and include new detectors as part of my Staging and Decorating proposals.

Perhaps a new CO detector would make a great closing gift?

Local community laws vary and will trump state requirements-where I live in White Plains, part of getting ANY building permit closed is the installation of hard-wired detectors in the appropriate place. Office managers-how about scheduling an official from the local building department to speak of this at your next office meeting?

We all ‘know’ what fire can do, but seeing it first-hand is something else. Last year I was witness to 2 separate fire restorations. One, very close to home, in my own co-op complex; the other was a project I was called into. The former was a roof repair gone horribly wrong, the latter an electrical fire.

Photo on left is entry into apartment, hole in wall is where electric panel was; on right is in bedroom, looking up into bedroom of upstairs apartment.

If you look carefully, above 2nd beam on the left, you may be able to see outlet cover is melted, and soot stains coming out of it