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October 2, 2014

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. It is quite toxic to humans and other oxygen-breathing organisms. Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when enough carbon monoxide is inhaled. (See carbon monoxide poisoning)

Low levels of carbon monoxide are always present in air. It can also be produced from incomplete combustion of flame fueled devices such as fireplaces, furnaces, stoves, vehicles, space heaters and others.

Breathing carbon monoxide fumes decreases the blood's ability to carry oxygen. Low levels of oxygen can lead to cell death, including cells in vital organs such as the brain and heart.

A carbon monoxide detector is a device with an alarm that is designed to detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide, the detectors can be AC powered, battery operated or hardwired. The AC powered unit may have a battery backup. As the weight of CO is almost identical to the weight of normal air, the detector can be installed near the ceiling or on a wall. The detector shouldn't be placed near a fireplace and shouldn't be installed near a smoke detector so that you are able to distinguish between a CO and a smoke detector alarm when there is an emergency situation.

CO detectors should be present in every home and each level needs a separate detector. If you have one CO detector it should be installed near the sleeping area and make sure that the alarm is loud enough so that you can wake up when it sounds.

When the alarm sounds, don't panic, try to stay calm because the alarm is intended to sounds before you experience symptoms. Evacuate the house, gather all the members of household out to a safe area where there is fresh air. Check if anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (see CO poisoning), if yes than call 911. Ventilate the area and identify the source of the carbon monoxide and make sure that your appliances are checked by a professional as soon as possible.

Prevention of CO poisoning:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Test and replace the detector according to the instructions of the manufacture, check the batteries according to the manufacture instruction.
  • Check the battery once per year.
  • Inspect and properly maintain heating system, chimneys and appliances.
  • Use non electrical space heaters only in well ventilated areas.
  • Don't use a gas oven or stove to heat your house.
  • Don't burn charcoal inside your home, garage, tent or camper.
  • Don't leave cars running inside the garage.
  • If you are using a kerosene heater indoors, make sure there is good ventilation

When buying a CO detector consider the location you want to install the detector in, the power source and the installation ease.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

December 6, 2012

Fire Prevention and Safety

Fires and burns are one of leading causes of household injuries. Simple things can be done to prevent or decrease these risks of fires and the resulting burns which include:

  • Have a proper escape plan in case of an emergency.

  • Make sure that a smoke detector is installed and it is working properly.

  • Check the smoke detector every year.

  • Make sure that you have a working, fully charged fire extinguisher.

  • Make sure that your water heater is set to 120 degrees or less to avoid scalds, install radiator cover, and isolate exposed steam pipes.

  • Fire places and burning candles should never be left unattended, dispose of cigarettes, and matches carefully; never place anything that may burn near a water heater, space heater, stove top, or near a furnace,

  • If a kitchen fire occurs, don't panic, know how to handle it and put it out. For oven fires, close the door and turn off the oven. For a stovetop fire, use a lid to smother it.

  • Children should be taught never to play with matches, lighters, or gasoline; they should never be allowed to handle fireworks; never leave young children alone; place pots on the rear burner of the stove and turn the handles inward out of the reach of children; make sure that the stovetop is clean as residue grease can catch fire; make sure that the stove is turned off when you are finished; children should be taught what to do if they smell smoke of hear the smoke alarm.

  • Never place electric cords under rugs or bedding. Heat or sparks from these cords may cause a fire.

  • Always check electrical cords for signs of wear and replace cracked or frayed cords to avoid shock and fire. Don't overload outlets or power strips, and cover unused outlets with plastic plugs.

  • When dealing with chemical substances, protective clothing should be used; all chemical substances should be stored in tamper proof containers out of reach of children; chemicals should never be stored in food or drink containers; different products that contain toxic chemicals should not be mixed together as they may give off toxic fumes; avoid using potentially toxic substances in the kitchen or around food.

  • If your clothes are on fire, stop, drop and roll.

  • In case there is a fire in a building, you should move to the floor where the air is cool and clear because hot air carrying harmful gasses will rise up.

  • Know the emergency phone numbers for your area. In most places it is 911. Teach children the emergency number and post it near each phone.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

July 10, 2012

Child Protective Services (CPS): New York

Is a governmental agency that investigates and responds to any case of potential child abuse or neglect. Its purpose is to ensure that children are safe and to prevent any further abuse or neglect by the parents or the legal caregivers. CPS also helps families to get the services needed to guarantee a safe and a healthy home. CPS protects children from physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect by the parents or the legal caregivers.

A suspected case of child abuse or neglect must be reported. Anyone can report a case of child abuse or neglect but professions who have regular contact with children like hospital personnel, teachers, social workers, and police are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect by New York state law. The person who reports a case doesn't need to have any evidence of child abuse or neglect. A suspicion to a reasonable degree based on behaviors, observation and other information is enough to make a report. The 24 hour New York State Central Register number is 1-800-342-3720. When calling the person will be asked specific information and the report will be accepted if the information provided meets the legal criteria for child abuse or neglect. Depending on the county that the family lives in, the report will be given to the CPS in that area.

The CPS will assign a caseworker to meet the family and assess the situation to determine if there is child abuse or neglect and the steps required to deal with it if there is a case.

Among the rights they have, parents have the right to:

  1. Be notified that a report has been made and the CPS has to notify the parents in writing within seven days.
  2. Be given the contact information of the case worker and his/her supervisor (name, phone number and which department), if not given, the parents should ask for it.
  3. Ask for a copy of the information in the Central Register report, all the information in the report can be given to the parents apart from information regarding the person who made the report.
  4. Ask the caseworker and the supervisor about the case progress and its status.
  5. Parents should save all the documents and papers they get and attend all the meetings regarding the case.
  6. Be told by CPS about your rights if a case of child abuse or neglect is found.
  7. Request to change the information in the report if the parents think that the information in the report is inaccurate.
  8. Ask any question they have about the case. Don't hesitate to ask any question you have about your case.
Talk to the caseworker you are assigned to if you are not getting the services that you need. Services that are available differ from one place to another. Some programs and community services are free.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

January 25, 2011

Smoke Detectors / Smoke Alarms Prevent Deadly Smoke Inhalation--if They're Working

In one of my posts last week, I mentioned a fatal fire that started because an extension cord had shorted out and set fire to clothes that were laying on top of it. This is a very preventable type of fire--but it can be prevented only when people living in a house or apartment practice good fire safety. The best way to do this: Take two minutes every day to check around your house or apartment for situations that could start a fire, or cause a fire to spread, or block the escape path to a door or window.

Besides this, there is another very simple precaution that people can take. And even though this precaution cannot prevent a fire, it can do something even more important: it can prevent a fire from trapping victims and inflicting terrible third-degree burns and poisonous smoke inhalation. What is that precaution? Installing a minimum of one smoke detector on the ceiling of each level of the house, preferably in the hallway near the bedrooms. It is advisable to put a smoke detector in each bedroom as well.

Sure enough, the blaze that was started by the shorted-out extension cord, which killed a mother and her three children who were asleep at the time, took place in a home that did not have a smoke alarm. So even though the fire began in the living room, in an electrical outlet that was also being used to power a stereo system, a computer, and other appliances, the lack of a smoke detector meant there was too little time to escape once family members woke up and realized there was a fire. The fire had engulfed much of the first floor and created dark, choking smoke that rose up and filled the rooms of the second floor before any of the sleeping victims had a chance to escape. And believe it or not, many victims who die of smoke inhalation are not even awakened by the smell of smoke. Smoke can poison your lungs and cause unconsciousness so quickly that there is no time to wake up!

So if you own your home, it takes less than $20 to buy a battery-operated smoke detector and about ten minutes to install one. And if you rent your house or apartment, make sure to ask the landlord to install smoke alarms in your apartment. One last thing to remember: It is the tenant's responsibility to check the battery in each smoke detector every few months to make sure it is working, and to REPLACE the battery once a year. If you don't do this, the smoke detector might be of no use in keeping your family safe!

To read reviews on many types of smoke detectors, click here. Lastly, anyone who cannot afford a smoke alarm can contact their local fire department to see if they will install one for free. In Philadelphia, for instance, residents can sign up to get a free smoke detector by visiting

January 18, 2011

Lessons in Home Fires: Don't Get Burned by Careless Neighbors

Sometimes, it does not matter how much precaution you take in keeping your home safe from a fire. Here's a situation that recently affected my own family:

We have small fire extinguishers in the corner of each bedroom, plus one in the hallway closet that's between the kitchen and the front door. Each fire extinguisher is rated ABC (so it's effective on just about every type of house fire--electrical, cooking, etc.). Each one cost us about $40, and is useful for about three years. We know ours are still good because the gauge on top of each extinguisher shows us how much firefighting chemical is left in the extinguisher. Once the gauge points to the red zone, it's time to discard or refill the extinguisher. And even though the instructions for use are printed on each extinguisher, we've all learned how to use it so no time is wasted during an emergency.

So we thought we were fully prepared to handle any fire situations involving the home. Problem is, we live in an apartment building, and one of our neighbors is not as careful about fire safety as we are--she's an elderly woman who likes to smoke. One night, we heard fire trucks outside our building, and when I opened our apartment door to step into the hallway, I could see and smell acrid smoke coming from under the door of our neighbor's unit.

The firefighters raced up the one flight of stairs and banged on our neighbor's door until she reluctantly opened it. Wielding heavy-duty foam extinguishers, they pushed past her and coated the entire apartment to ensure that whatever was on fire could not ignite anything else. It turns out that the woman's mattress had caught fire from a cigarette--and the bottom of her nightgown was burned and still smoking as the firefighters finished their job!

The woman was trying to smother the mattress fire when firefighters arrived, and was too embarrassed to open her door and let them in. But if they had not gotten into that apartment in time, our adjacent apartment likely would have caught fire too. Our small extinguishers probably would have bought us enough time to get to an exit without receiving serious, third-degree burns or significant smoke inhalation, but we probably would have lost our home.

The moral of this story: Fire safety does not end beyond your front door. Keep aware of hazardous situations surrounding your home too. Careless neighbors can cause disaster for themselves, and for you. And if you ever have a situation near your home you think might be a fire hazard, call us at (212) ANSWERS and we will gladly answer your questions.

January 18, 2011

September 22, 2010

Camp Phoenix

445 E 69th St #319
New York, NY 10021, U.S.A.

The mission of Camp Phoenix is to help pediatric burn survivors and their siblings. In this camp the campers will share their experiences and stories and will have a network of support that can help one and other. It's a safe exciting and a memorable experience that will not soon be forgotten.

For more details see the link to the camp.

July 9, 2010

Escaping Victimhood

From the book I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry white.

Some people stay victims which is a type of defense mechanism that follows trauma. Sympathy is welcomed at time of need but some people continue to invite that sympathy because it is comfortable. Every survivor eventually has to take responsibility for his/her life and break this habit of victimhood.

Saying things like "if only I return back to the past to make this right" or "if I didn't drive the car on that time", if only so and so hadn't happen and so on will not change anything and will keep you attached to thoughts that will pull you in the darkness of the past. People who can't let go of their Victimhood will not be able to think positively, take positive actions or relate in a healthy way to others. They will not participate in daily life in an effective way.

You have to make choices to nourish the survivor in you and others. Finding your inner thriver and ignoring your inner victim. By tracing how you think and speak, you can climb out of victimhood. Try to do things that you like such as listening to your favorite songs, donating money to charities, volunteering charity work or other things that work best for you which will help you to find your thrive within you.

July 7, 2010

Burn Camps in Oklahoma

Tulsa Firefighters Educational Clowns Burn Camp:


This is a 5 day camp for burned children and children who have any disfiguring type of injuries. More than 100 counselors and volunteers participate in this camp ranging from firefighters, burn nurses and many other volunteers. Camp activities include western town theme, go cart track, petting zoo, team building games and much more. Children in this camp have fun, learn and have an experience that they won't forget. Every year there is a different theme and each child will receive many things including a burn camp shirt, hat, camp packet, toys and much more.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 918- 857-6351/ 918-698-8812 /Cellular: 918- 693-3376

July 2, 2010

Burn Camps in Georgia

Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation: Camp Oo-U-La


This camp is sponsored entirely by the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation and is totally free of charge. It's the first and only camp serving children who survived a burn injury. In this camp survivors will have the opportunity to face social and physical challenges among their peers in a friendly, family type setting. The camp has goals, in this camp an atmosphere of conditionless love and acceptance is provided. Many activities will be provided that give the survivors a sense of accomplishment. Survivors will share their similar experiences and will form a social network that will help building self-esteem. In this camp the child will be seen on the inside not just the scars on the outside. The staff is dedicated to do their best to help and support these children and many of them are burn survivors themselves.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 404-320-6223

July 1, 2010

Burn Camps in Illinois

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Burn Camp:


This Camp is open to children ages 8-16 that have experienced a burn injury requiring hospitalization in Illinois. A safe environment will be provided for these children were they will enjoy various activities including swimming, row boating, canoeing, fishing, archery, crafts and much more. Survivors will make new friends, built their self-esteem and share their experience with other survivors.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 847-390-0911

June 30, 2010

Burn Camps in Missouri

Missouri Children's Burn Camp:


This camp is for children ages 6-17 who have been hospitalized for burns. In this weeklong camp, campers will participate in biking, boating, swimming, horseback riding and many other outdoor activities. Survivors will have fun, learn, share their experience with others and know that they are not the only ones with the burn injury. Survivors will develop new skill, make new friends and will have an experience that will not be forgotten as their lives will be different after this camp.

For more details see the website.


Phone number: 314-997-2757 or 866-997-BURN or 866-997-2876

Fax: 314-997-0903

June 29, 2010

Burn Camps in Virginia

Central Virginia Burn Camp:


This camp was established in 1994 by the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association. Children between the ages of 7 and 17 can attend this camp and participate in various activities in a safe and a fun environment. The staff does their best to meet the physical, social and psychological needs of theses survivors. This camp gives firefighters who are part of the burn staff the opportunity to share their experience with these children. Since its inception firefighters from across the Commonwealth and numerous organizations have assisted in making the Central Virginia Burn Camp a success since.

For more information see the website.


Phone number: 434-263-6566

June 28, 2010

Burn Camps in Louisiana

Louisiana Burn Camp:


This Camp is held in June every year at Camp Alabama in Choudrant, LA for Children ages 5 to 17 who have survived burn injuries. Many activities are practiced including fishing, arts & crafts, swimming, boating, canoeing, volleyball and much more. Campers enjoy air-conditioned cabins, pavilion, dining hall, playground, canoeing, swimming pool, and much more.

For more details see the website.


Phone Number: 318-675-6853

June 25, 2010

Burn Camps in Texas

Camp I-Thonka-Chi:

Texas- Dallas

This camp is sponsored by Parkland Memorial Hospital; the meaning of the camp is "a place that makes one strong or fearless, not afraid to face life". Survivors in this camp participate in various activities which include fishing, canoeing, arts and crafts and much more. Adult burn survivors join the Parkland Burn Center staff to serve as volunteer counselors to the children. Participation by adult burn survivors provides role models who, in spite of similar injuries, have gone on to lead normal, productive lives. Children in this camp share with others burn survivors their experience and what they have gone through making them feel that they are not alone and that there is support.

For more information see the website.